As technology has evolved it has become more involved and entwined in our lives. The introduction of wearable technology is an excellent example of this.
Investopedia define wearable technology as “electronics that can be worn on the body, either as an accessory or as part of material used in clothing”. They define one of the major features of wearable technology as “its ability to connect to the Internet, enabling data to be exchanged between a network and the device”.
Some of the more common wearable technology includes smart watches, fitness trackers, GPS’s, body cameras, Bluetooth headsets etc. Of course there are many more! While we commonly use these electronics in our personal lives, they are also being integrated into the workplace as a HR tool.
Employers are utilising wearable technology in the workplace in a variety of ways. Some of these include:
Increasing operational efficiencies – the use of electronics such as GPS trackers, body cameras and fitness trackers allows an employer to track the movements of their employees. This provides valuable data that can assist in decision making processes such as hiring additional resources, allocation of work, identifying training needs or reviewing processes.
Promoting health and wellness – encouraging employees to use wearable devices such as fitness trackers to track their movements, steps, sleep and food intake can help to promote healthier lifestyles. Effective employee wellness initiatives can significantly improve employee morale and reduce the use personal leave.
Safety improvements – Technology has advanced PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) significantly. For example, some hard hats now contain sensors that can alert the wearer if their head is near an object that may cause harm. Understanding the risks and hazards employees are exposed to enables accurate and realistic policies and processes to be put in place. Employers are able to better understand these risks and hazards through the use of wearable technology.
The use of wearable technology in the workplace offers so many exciting opportunities for the employers to tap into! To ensure you are maximising their effectiveness I recommend the following:
- Involve your team – seek their ideas and feedback. This will help to provide ownership and accountability (two things that are really important if you want this to succeed!)
- Clearly identify what you want to achieve – not only does this help you measure its effectiveness, it ensures everyone is working towards the same outcome
- Identify and plan how you will you alleviate any privacy and security concerns your employees might have.
- Review your policies to ensure all aspects of the use of wearable technology is covered.
- Be receptive to change! Technology is constantly changing so embrace this and move with the times!