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Microsoft backtracks on productivity-tracking tools

Microsoft has removed features from Microsoft 365 that enabled administrators to track individual users' "Productivity Score."

Citing privacy concerns and user feedback, Microsoft announced that it would stop showing the Productivity Scores associated with specific users. The company also said it will change the productivity-tracking dashboard to emphasize that the score is intended to measure organizational technology adoption rather than individual user behavior.

The productivity tool will still track Microsoft 365 users' behavior, but only in aggregate. The Productivity Score, ranging from zero to 800, utilizes user data from sources including Outlook, Excel, Teams and Word; it encompasses score categories such as communication, content collaboration, meetings and teamwork.

Microsoft announced the productivity-tracking tool in October, touting it as a way to "quantify what is happening across your organization and use aggregated measures to drive better outcomes for people." The feature received considerable backlash, despite Microsoft executives insisting that the "Productivity Score is not a work monitoring tool." When the tool was first introduced, Microsoft 365 administrators could use it to track individual user metrics such as time spent in meetings, number of chat messages sent, and the number of calls made.


What tech policy could look like in Biden’s first 100 days

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Antitrust enforcement is one of the big lessons going into the Biden administration.
Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Although it is too soon to tell with certainty how President-elect Joe Biden will address the questions surrounding tech policy, it is clear that his inaugural transition on Wednesday will affect the world of tech.

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Penelope Blackwell
Penelope Blackwell is a reporting fellow at Protocol covering ed-tech, where she reports on the decisions leading up toward the advances of remote learning. Previously, she interned at The Baltimore Sun covering emerging news and produced content for Carnegie-Knight’s News21 documenting hate and bias incidents in the U.S. She is also a recent graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Morgan State University.
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