Coronavirus: How much does your boss need to know about you?


Ford is using thermal scanning to check workers’ temperatures before they enter company sites


As more people start to return to their workplaces, many employers are introducing new ways to check up on their staff, from thermal scanners to wristbands.


For workers at any of Ford’s sites worldwide, there are two new steps to the morning routine. First, answer three health questions, on your mobile phone, confirming you aren’t a risk to your co-workers. Then, get scanned at the entrance to your workplace to check you aren’t running a temperature.


It’s not just Ford, these measures are now typical for many firms as employees return. Amazon, Walmart and dozens of others – including the BBC – have introduced thermal scanners. The move is broadly welcomed by workforces, as keen as their bosses to ensure the virus is contained.


“We’ve not had anyone say no,” says Ford’s John Gardiner. “Knowing the risks, people understand we’re doing as much as we can to protect their health and safety.”


All Ford employees have to answer health questions and get their temperature scanned before entering their workplace


But thermal scanning is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new intrusions on workers’ privacy that would have been hard to imagine just a few months ago.


While governments wrestle with data protection issues around app-based track-and-trace, many firms are planning their own schemes.


Accounting giant PwC has developed an app called Check-In, which is being tested in its Shanghai office. Employees’ mobiles register if they come into close proximity to co-workers. If someone tests positive for Covid-19, recent close contacts can be informed and asked to isolate. PwC expects to be able to market this to other employers.




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