Cameras In The Workplace – How Employee Engagement Might Be Affected By Video
Here’s an impassioned LinkedIn post from a medical professional who is worried about people recording video in surgical theatres. Supposedly one of Joan Rivers’ surgical team took a selfie with her under anaesthetic and that prompted the post. (Rivers was under anaesthetic, not the selfie taker. They must have been on some other kind of drug because that is reprehensible.) She had other very valid concerns about video takers interrupting the surgeon.
This made me think about the impact in workplaces generally of the actual or potential arrival of video cameras, be it formally and officially by the powers-that-be or from everyone else carrying smartphones with cameras. One of the reasons so much great footage was taken of the meteors crashing into Russia last year was because so many Russians have videos mounted in their cars because they distrust the police and their fellow citizens so much. Any evidence is good evidence. Flipping that mentality, several police jurisdictions around the world have been trialling cops with permanently active mini-cameras “about their person.” Apparently complaints from both sides have dropped massively. If we think we’re being filmed, our behaviour really does change. Not because anyone seems to want to do the right thing or follow the rules but out of fear of being caught.
On top of all this, my country and many others in the post-Snowden world have been debating the pros and cons of surveillance from the actual powers-that-be. Intrusion, privacy invasion in the name of protecting freedom. How much is too much?
Security cameras in public areas of workplaces are probably a good idea. Anything that can lessen the chance of violence is a good thing. Plenty of retail outlets already have hidden cameras for the purpose of preventing theft – by customers, break-ins and staff. The latter euphemistically called ‘shrinkage’ by accountants. That just makes me think of the Seinfeld episode qwhe they go to the beach. George: “I’ve been swimming!!”
I’m not saying we should but how might you act differently conducting your next performance chat with a team member if you thought it was being filmed? And edited by someone you didn’t know?
It’s too hairy an issue for me to truly analyse in one of my flippant blog posts but to me, it’s a good provocateur of 2 points:
- Dance like no one is watching but, on the job, act like you’re being filmed by an independent documentary maker all the time,
- Anything that damages trust in the workplace, regardless of the best intentions or logical justifications, will negatively impact employee engagement
I’m off to swim, then dance like no one’s watching but they probably are.