It's safe to say that the new Apple Watch is a hit, even though the product hasn't actually shipped to customers yet. The new gadget has the potential to change the way we communicate and track our own activity on a daily basis. But, the Apple Watch could also change the workplace of the future by giving your boss a convenient way to spy on your activity and fire inefficient workers.
As the philosopher Julian Baggini wrote in the Guardian, “… smart watches encourage a kind of auto-instrumentalization in which we treat ourselves as machines to be well-oiled, serviced and working at maximum efficiency.” The “quantified self” movement has mostly been conceived–perhaps because that’s how its adherents would like to see it–in terms of “new modes of introspection and self-governance.”
The Apple Watch can connect to the Internet and it's always on, so it be easy for managers to keep track of your activity level in the office. And, because you're unlikely to take the watch off when you leave the office, they can keep tabs on you at home, too. This gives managers the ability collect hard data about employee productivity that could inform employment decisions they make in the future.
In his article on Breitbart, Chriss W. Street compares the Apple Watch's potential to the Orion telematics system at UPS. This system measures driver productivity using the driver's handheld gadget and sensors in the truck. It measures things like delivery speed and whether or not the driver used a seatbelt.
[The Investigative Fund editor Esther] Kaplan explains that Orion was introduced to UPS employees as a safety measure. But executives told security analysts that telematics was a productivity device aimed at saving the company $100 million through operating efficiencies, including reductions in fuel, maintenance, and Teamster union labor.
Apple Watch and other smartwatches could be used in much the same way. Managers could ask employees to wear a watch and then used the data collected to find out which employees to keep and who to fire.