Earlier this year, Barclays found themselves under fire regarding a staff monitoring scheme that they had been trialling.


The scheme involved tracking software on employees’ machines to log the length of time they spent at their desks, resulting in warnings being sent if they took extended breaks. Barclays had been running this as a pilot programme in its London HQ in an attempt to measure staff productivity within its investment bank.

The programme allows managers to track how long staff spend in certain applications and when they’re at their desks. Daily report cards are produced for each member of staff and time spent away from their desks, in meetings or even for bathroom breaks is taken into account and could raise some red flags against their staff statistics.

Created by US firm, Sapience Analytics, the software is able to offer suggestions to employees who begin to fall behind on targets, including the disabling email popups or muting their phone to try and increase productivity.

The trial of this tracking software was first reported by CityAM who quoted an employee who wished to stay anonymous, saying:

“Employees are worried to step away from their desks, have full lunch breaks, take bathroom breaks or even get up for water, as we are not aware of the repercussions this might have on our statistics.”

A spokeswoman from Barclays said:

“We always intended to listen to colleague feedback as part of this limited pilot, which was intended to tackle issues such as individual over-working as well as raise general productivity. In response to that colleague feedback, we have taken steps to ensure that no individual data is visible to managers.”