7 August 2015

Is wearable tech the future for employee wellbeing? [Infographic]

Wearable devices like smartwatches are at the vanguard of today’s HR strategies. Could wearable tech help you boost employee wellbeing?

Technology and HR go hand in hand. From mobile video to social media, it’s all part and parcel of the current landscape.

Wearable tech, which monitors mental and physical wellbeing, offers exciting opportunities for HR managers looking to increase the health and happiness of employees.

It certainly has the potential to be the next big thing in the world of work. Here we examine its credentials:

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Health benefits

Data generated from wearables, like fitness bracelets that monitor exercise and health vitals, can be extremely useful to employers, telling them everything they need to know about an employee’s wellbeing.

Sleep patterns, blood pressure and heart rate can all be tracked and monitored over a period of time.

The Withings Aura, for instance, wakes you up with scientifically validated coloured light when you’re ready in the morning, while a tiny device called Tinké monitors your heart rate, blood oxygen level and breathing rate.

All of this information could be used by employers to shape work environments and optimise hours to maximise health for members of staff. After all, a healthy and happy workforce is a more productive one.

Fitness bracelets could also be used by employers to keep an eye on the condition of remote workers, who predominantly work outside the office and are therefore harder to monitor.

Steady surge in popularity

The popularity of wearable tech is poised to take off in the coming years as businesses wake up to the potential benefits of devices such as smartwatches and intelligent ID badges.

For instance, figures from analyst Canalys show the market for wearable bands grew by a monumental 684% year-on-year in the first six months of 2014.

Workers have been wearing uniforms, safety gear and communications headsets for decades in a bid to do their jobs better, so the adoption of wearables is seen as the next step towards better workplace efficiency.

Improved safety, productivity and collaboration is something all businesses strive to achieve on a daily basis – if fitness monitors can make this happen, then that’s the route the majority will inevitably go down.

Adoption challenges

Not everyone is completely sold on wearable tech. Privacy concerns are a big issue for a number of employers and employees alike, who fear a ‘Big Brother’ culture will negatively impact the workplace.

The ability to monitor the health and wellbeing of a worker, not to mention their location, is considered intrusive.

There is also growing concern over stigmatisation, due to things like mental health issues being disclosed. This could open up a very sensitive – and problematic – can of worms for companies to deal with.


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