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Microsoft Teams has a function of productivity - “Productivity Score” - which theoretically allows managers to monitor the efficiency of their employees through a score related to how hard they worked.

However, such a function can be seen by experts as quite invasive, raising important questions about privacy of the working environment.

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This is because the resource is able to actively monitor the data of its video calls, find out how many emails you've sent or replied to, measure your use of apps like Office 365, etc. It also analyzes what data you enter in your profile - full name and email, cell phone, address and so on.

microsoft teams
Microsoft Teams creates a productivity report for system administrators and managers. Image: Tada Images / Shutterstock

Evidently, this “productivity score” is not as invasive as other monitoring tools out there. In a world where bosses can take pictures of you and your screen via your computer's webcam, what Teams does is even mild. And Microsoft itself had been honest with this monitoring, present in terms of using the platform.

An update in September 2020, however, widened that range, allowing Teams (and managers) to record how many urgent messages you sent and to whom, the number of messages sent by private chats and, apparently, the reason why you blocked some another user.

microsoft teams: list of monitored items
Part of the list of items monitored by the Microsoft Teams productivity function. Image: ZDNet / Reproduction

Teams allow monitoring of employees?

So far, it is not possible to say that the function has been used by bosses to keep an eye on their employees, but people concerned with the matter have already given voice to such questions in the official Microsoft forum and on Reddit, for fear of receiving a call from the boss, saying that “last month, you stopped responding to 12 messages”.

According to Microsoft terms, the company admits the recording and monitoring of employees' actions, but the decision made from that is made by the team managers.

Ao ZDNet, a company spokesman said, “Only the global administrator has use rights for the analysis and reporting experience, which offers insights into the ways the company uses Microsoft Teams, but not the content of the message itself. ”.

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Microsoft supports monitoring of employee actions, but where the team manager decides what to do about it. Image: fizkes / Shutterstock

In other words, the system administrator doesn't know if you talked about the outcome of the game last week or any important work documents. He also doesn't know that it's necessarily you in the conversation. Still, some argue that this type of information can be deduced.

Prior authorization

In order to alleviate the concerns of users, Microsoft has published, on its official page, a long explanation on how this monitoring is done and, more importantly, that the user must authorize it, first of all.

"People who decide to allow this will be able to review voice clips to improve the performance of Microsoft's artificial intelligence system by a diversity of people, speech styles, accents, dialects and acoustic environments," said the executive architect of digital transformation services. of the company, John Roach.

According to him, “the goal is to make Microsoft's speech recognition technology more inclusive and easier to interact with. Customers who choose not to contribute their voice clips for review will still be able to use all Microsoft voice products and services. ”

Source: ZDNet