More and more acclaimed, for their ability to enhance the workplace, introducing wearables at work is an idea worth taking in consideration for any business looking to increase productivity, reduce accidents and expenses. A new research from the University of London has found that brain related wearables helped to increase the wearer’s productivity by 8.5 percent, while the job satisfaction level rose by 3.5 percent.
Businesses across the world are increasingly using wearables at work for many reasons. Wearables help employees keep an eye on their personal health, reduce the number of absences a work and indirectly lower the company’s healthcare costs.
Wearables at work are also proven to boost the employee productivity. Through wearables, the employees stay connected to their offices and colleagues – in certain jobs like special forces, emergency doctors – therefore receiving instant updates when it matters the most.
Also, through wearables at work the company can collect and analyse critical data from their workers and use it accordingly when needed. Now, the last part of the previous sentence may sound a little like a piece from a Big Brother movie, and that was the idea. However, when the data collection takes place in the appropriate manner, the acquired data delivers massive positive changes in the work environment.
It is true; the employer has to handle data appropriately, or disasters could happen. Therefore cons and pros of using wearables at work – for this reason alone – are always going to be a hot topic for us to debate.
However, let’s see why wearables at work can do more good than bad. Conform to a 2015 report, published by Salesforce, from all five hundred companies surveyed, nearly a quarter – 23 percent- is already using wearables at work to improve security.
Wearables at work improve the safety of the workers
From implanted chipsets to digital passes on lanyards and from smart glasses to smartwatches, these companies use wearables at work to grant their staff access to high-security areas, while monitoring and recording who is accessing and what, in real time.
The same report reveals that twenty percent of companies use wearables to improve their employee time-management by tracking, monitoring, prioritising and altering their schedules, also in real time. Another 20 percent use wearables to communicate with their employee through smartwatches in their attempt to cut down on smartphone distractions, while also providing crucial information at a glance.
Other companies use smart sensors and sophisticated algorithms to improve the safety of their workers and protect them from serious injuries and work-related accidents. For example, wearables wearers receive instant insights when lifting heavy objects and the wearable device can alert them when certain actions/locations might lead to physical injuries or present potential dangers for the wearer.
More than that, the employer can collect additional user data such as REM and NREM, sleep cycles, caloric consumption, heart rate and then blend it with work related user data to obtain a complete view of the fatigue, safety, well-being, general health, and productivity levels of their workers.
Detailed information could give, not only the company but also the wearer, a full picture of how their stress and health level impact their daily lives and work performance and help both make the proper adjustments to improve health, wellness, schedules and better work hours.
Wearables at work – Employees don’t trust their employers with any personal data
That being said, there is a bit of a problem with wearables at work: Most employees panic at the idea of their employer tracking their exercises, habits and keeping an eye on their health data or constantly monitoring their moves, at the office.
More than that, we gathered from a 2016 survey by PwC that 40 percent of employees would not trust their employers with any personal data, assuming that it will not be used fairly, or it would be used against them. Therefore, as an employer that thinks about introducing wearables at work, questioning and asking for feedback from your employees is the first step to take.
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If your company can save money, reduce absences, injuries and also improve your staff’s performance and productivity, then the idea of using wearables at work is worth the investment.
However, make sure your employees are well aware of what type of data you collect, how it is used and how they can also benefit from wearing these devices. Do not enforce wearables at work but let your employees make an informed decision about whether to participate and contribute with their data.
Finally, if you implement wearables at work, treat the collected data as a whole but at the same time, help your employees understand how to use their personal data to make changes that they can benefit from. Better eating, sleeping and work habits or even allow them to change their agenda to become more productive.