‘996’ is the ghastly Chinese formula for employees – working from 9am to 9pm 6 days a week.
One Shanghai engineer tells how a software programme on the laptop of every employee tracks their screens in real time, records their chats, their browsing activity and every document edit they make.
High definition cameras record how long they take for lunch. Employees’ mobile phone browsing history and applications usage are monitored via companies’ Wi-Fi. Sites considered a distraction to work are blocked.
Transfer of a document looking like a CV, or time on a job search site, leads to peoples’ tenure becoming problematic.
The Beijing subsidiary of Canon used face recognition tech to ensure that only smiling people could enter the office or book a conference room.
Some workers are obliged to upload a photo of where they are to prove they’re not skiving and workers’ whereabouts are monitored through tracking apps.
It is reported that one worker was tracked accessing Weibo for ten minutes while on the loo and Kuaishou Technology was widely criticised on-line for installing a countdown timer in every loo cubicle.
The irony of it is that, with a lot of these workers writing code, they’re not using tech to make working lives more agreeable but to make their own lives more miserable – demonstrated by the fact that the average time they stick in a job is 1.47 years.