Ex-JPMorgan Chase staffer on being tracked at work

I've worked at JPMorgan Chase for 15 years, but I'm looking for a new job
Read on Insider.com
INSIDER
Subscribe

INSIDER FEATURED ARTICLE

Insider Featured Article

FINANCE

JPMorgan Chase started tracking what we do during the work day. We're stressed, exhausted, and scared to talk about what's going on.

By Jenna Gyimesi

  • Last month, Insider learned about a tracking system at JP Morgan called "Workforce Activity Data Utility."
  • Many employees are scared that all their activities are monitored although they're unsure of what's being tracked and by who.
  • This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with a JPMorgan Chase employee, as told to Jenna Gyimesi.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with a JPMorgan Chase employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their career. Insider has verified their identity and employment. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

As of publishing, the JPMorgan Chase employee has since left the company.


I've worked at JPMorgan Chase for 15 years, but I'm looking for a new job because I feel betrayed by a company I put my whole heart into. I won't buy into a system of fear.

The bank is tracking office attendance and collecting data on our daily work.

I don't think it's safe for me to return to the office

In April, JPMorgan Chase sent out a letter saying that most workers need to return to office on a hybrid schedule.

But I think it's too risky for me to return to work right now. I have a young child who is too young to be vaccinated, and I don't want to put her at risk by riding public transportation and then exposing myself to COVID-19 in the office.

I haven't returned to the office at all yet, and I don't plan on coming in.

But the bank is tracking attendance using ID swipes. They know exactly who's coming in, when, and how frequently.

I've even heard of people offering to take each other's key cards into work to swipe in for coworkers to get around the system. Normally, people are very compliant in this industry so it's very surprising for me.

And that's not all — a program called "Workforce Activity Data Utility" can track how much time we spend on Zoom, writing emails, and talking on the phone.

I've heard that they're tracking our mouse movements as well, and I know some colleagues have downloaded mouse jigglers to keep their mouses moving throughout the day. This hasn't been confirmed, but we're not sure exactly what they're tracking and why, and that's what's upsetting.

It truly feels like Big Brother is watching us

Many companies track data, and I understand that I work in a highly regulated industry. The real problem for me is who can access the data — we fear our managers can look at it at any time.

Human resources is fine, but direct managers should not have access to our personal data. It's uncomfortable when someone you have a personal relationship with can pull up extensive information about you, and I've distanced myself from anyone I think may have access.

When employees first found out about the tracking, we felt panicked. We started questioning if we did something to deserve this when we hadn't. The hardest part for me was seeing all of my colleagues go into fear mode.

Our work culture has changed for the worse

It now feels completely different than what it was before the tracking announcement, and I'm noticing we're making a lot more mistakes and that our quality of work is going down.

I used to ask people for things or favors and people would say, "No problem." But now, colleagues are saying no. For example, people used to volunteer to give presentations to move their careers forward. But now it's like, "Ugh, I have to give this presentation and I shouldn't have to." The tone has completely changed.

People seem much crankier and stressed — especially middle managers. They have to fight the higher ups who are making the policies and fight the employees who are pushing back.

I'm also noticing burnout symptoms like exhaustion and anger. But people are obviously afraid to talk about it on professional channels.

Over Zoom calls, people have started mentioning that they'll be offline for 5 or 10 minutes later that day and that their mouse will be idle for that time. I think that's ridiculous — everyone is allowed to take a ten minute break without reporting it to the team.

I felt I was taken off the VP track for pushing back

I've made it very clear to my boss that I do not plan on coming into the office. I felt that they were immediately disappointed, and I got the sense that this might end my career growth. They argued that my reasons for refusing to come into the office didn't make sense. Someone mentioned they were afraid this would affect my bonus and performance, and that while I had been on a VP track, that was now out the window.

I remember feeling so betrayed at that moment. I said that I understood because I didn't know what else to say. I've heard people say that companies never reciprocate loyalty, and I always knew that in my head, but not in my heart. I feel like they proved it to me that day.

I don't want to spend a majority of my time in fear — that would have a substantial negative impact on me. So I started looking for a new job right after that conversation.

Even if my child were to get vaccinated right now, or even if they told me I could work from home indefinitely, I don't think I could stay. My view of the company has changed, and I'm not sure I can ever trust a company again the way I trusted Chase.

I feel the new policy might backfire when it comes to building a diverse workforce

Right now, no one has been disciplined for not coming in or for not being online. So we're uncertain about what the new policy means or how the data is actually being used.

But certain people have conditions like ADHD that make it extremely hard to concentrate in the office. Their one-size-fits-all approach neglects the diversity that we have here. They're going to end up with an office that is way less neurodiverse.

Studies show that diversity in the workplace is important for the success of the business. Diversity is what makes us strong. And I think different background, and work styles are essential or we will make judgments based within our own paradigms. That's not good for anyone.

Policies like these only drive away diverse workers.

If any JPMorgan Chase executives are reading this: Please give us a chance to do what we do the way we're best at doing it.

A JPMorgan Chase representative told Insider in a statement: "It's difficult for us to comment on anonymous anecdotes and circumstances. That said, we know there are employees with unique situations which is why we have worked to address and accommodate those who need it – and will continue to do so. There's no doubt remote work and increased flexibility are here to stay, but in-person interaction is important for creativity, culture, and training, among other things. We have a wide range of roles and job functions across the bank and flexible work arrangements that both support our employees and best serve our customers, too."

Suggested reads

Click here to read this article on-site.

Read the stories that matter most to you from wherever you are with the Insider App. Download the app today!
Powered By SailthrU

Older messages

Satellites can now find the sources of methane leaks. The tech will reshape global climate accountability.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

New satellite technology makes it easier to detect methane leaks and to fight the climate crisis. The technology will help drive accountability. View in browser Business Insider Business Insider

Wall Street: Bullish on young analysts

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

The latest in finance. View in browser INSIDER INSIDER Subscribe 10 THINGS ON WALL STREET Welcome back to the work week – that is, assuming you are back and not stuck in an airport, or, heaven forbid,

Satellites can now find the sources of methane leaks. The tech will reshape global climate accountability.

Monday, July 4, 2022

New satellite technology makes it easier to detect methane leaks and to fight the climate crisis. The technology will help drive accountability. View in browser Business Insider Business Insider

The bear market will drag on until inflation subsides and investors should brace for earnings cuts next quarter, according to the investment chief at a $1.2 trillion asset manager

Saturday, July 2, 2022

"We're worried about companies' forecasts for the second half of this year," said Nuveen's investment chief. View in browser Business Insider Business Insider Business Insider

Bed Bath & Beyond has another 50% to fall, and its 'dumpster fire' first quarter means its days could be numbered, analysts say

Friday, July 1, 2022

"It's not going to take years. We could be talking about months at this point. We are in the end days," Loop Capital analyst Anthony Chukumba said. View in browser Business Insider

Wall Street: Meet the rising stars of finance

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The latest in finance. View in browser INSIDER INSIDER Subscribe 10 THINGS ON WALL STREET Hi. I'm Aaron Weinman. Today I want to highlight Wall Street's brightest young talents who are

Catastrophic impact

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg Hurricane Ian barreled ashore in southwest Florida with a massive and deadly surge of water and catastrophic winds that are poised to make it one of

🧱 Let’s go, Lego!

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Lego announced double-digit sales growth | BOE stepped in to rescue British markets | TOGETHER WITH Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for September 29th in 3:07 minutes. 🙋‍♀️ Are you in your

Pound steadies after hitting record low as investors weigh the chances of the Bank of England stepping in

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

In a contradictory message, the UK central bank said it wouldn't hesitate to hike interest rates if needed, but didn't announce an emergency meeting. View in browser Business Insider Business

Hello

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Still Sick : Watch out for this Hurricane! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Issue #162: Everyone is over overdraft fees

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

plus Cardi B hot takes + unstreamable songs ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌ ͏‌

Wall Street: Banks pay out $2 billion

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The latest in finance. View in browser INSIDER INSIDER Subscribe 10 THINGS ON WALL STREET Hi. I'm Aaron Weinman. Some of the world's largest banks from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley will

Sabotage

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Bloomberg Evening Briefing View in browser Bloomberg In what could be another major escalation in the standoff between the Kremlin and Europe over Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine, Germany and the

🤝 The dying art of dealmaking

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

China's growth is lagging behind its neighbors | Dealmaking has plunged since July | TOGETHER WITH Hi Reader, here's what you need to know for September 28th in 3:09 minutes. 🌍 A future free of

💡 5 Surprising Stats on Women and Money

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Plus, how the Ellevest community practices financial wellness. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌