Orange is pushing out research claiming that UK lone-worker staff would love to be tracked using GPS, for their own benefit of course.
The research, based on interviews with a thousand people who defined themselves as “lone workers”, found that only 12 per cent have an alert button to use in case of incident, while 38 per cent appear to endorse GPS-based tracking.
We say “appear” as Orange words the endorsement with great care: first listing the advantages of GPS tracking, and then expounding that almost 40 per cent of lone workers “feel positive about their employer having the ability to be alerted quickly if they were to miss or be significantly delayed at an appointment”. One might argue that isn't necessarily the same thing as being tracked by the boss.
More surprising, to us at least, is that only 75 per cent of lone workers have company-issued mobile phones, while just over 40 per cent get a laptop and mobile internet access.
Some of those will be postmen and crossing guards*, who probably don't need Google for their daily grind, but it's hard to imagine many people in full-time employment don't have a mobile phone these days, even if it's not a company issue.
The 12 per cent figure also worries us slightly. While someone who climbs telegraph poles for a living might need an instant alert (or, even better, a phone that automatically screams when falling), those of us to whom a work-related injury means spilt coffee can probably survive without calling the emergency services at the touch of a button.
But if you're alone at work, and in physical danger, then Orange would like you to know it has technology that might be able to make you a bit safer... though probably not as safe as you would be if you weren't alone or in physical danger. ®
* Yes, they do still exist - there just aren't as many as there used to be.