In the Loop

In the Loop: September 10, 2008 Archive

Wall Street Journal: Retailers using computer software to "reprogram" workers

Posted at 9:56 AM on September 10, 2008 by Jeff Horwich

I love some of the workplace stories the Wall Street Journal gets into. This one's just kind of jaw-dropping in the honest quotes that come from all sides:

Most of the details come from women's clothing retailer Ann Taylor, which is using new software from a Wisconsin company to slice-and-dice workers' schedules for maximum efficiency. Sounds brutal. And the company acknowledges coming up with a cute name for the system ("ATLAS") so employees "hate the system and not us."

The software company admits they've made a product that their clients can abuse at the expense of workers.

On one hand, who wouldn't want a system like this helping you schedule your shifts? Seems almost inevitable, in a way. But at what human price?

Great story. Might see if we can get the reporter on the show this week to talk about it.

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