It's an interesting question — one that has the potential to improve a company's bottom line as well as the lives of employees, but at the cost of invading worker privacy.

Gregory T. Huang from Xconomy writes on a new startup that wants to revolutionize and optimize businesses, whether employees are ready or not.

Born out of an MIT lab, the company Humanyze has been working on gathering data — when employees take breaks, how they talk to customers, when they send emails — in order to analyze it and spit out a better way to organize a department.

Ben Waber, CEO and co-founder of Humanyze, says that their system has been tested and proven with big companies, like Bank of America. The company wanted to improve its call center to boost performance and reduce turnover rates. Humanyze crunched the numbers and found that the company needed to increase team interaction. They found workers who took overlapping lunch breaks with team members and had time to chat showed lower stress levels, lower turnover rates, and faster completion time with customer calls.

To Waber, human analytics are the future. He explained to Huang in an interview:

“Everyone’s eventually going to have to do this. Look at where Amazon was 20 years ago, doing A/B testing — now everyone has to do it. People analytics are at the same stage.”

“Our customers are investing in something that’s hard to do today. We are saying no to customers who are not willing to change their company. If you do change, you’re going to destroy your competitors. If you don’t, you won’t be around in 10 years, and we’ll work with your competitors.”

Data has the opportunity to drive great change within a company that could help improve the wellness of its workers. It could also cause great damage if the privacy of those workers is not maintained. But if we're looking on the bright side, perhaps we'll finally get that shorter workweek researchers keep saying people need.

Read more at Xconomy.

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