Technology is transforming businesses all over the world, but the most impactful change is likely just down the road.
In recent years, companies have been discussing the possibilities associated with wearable technology. While initially wearable tech was looked at in a more theoretical light, it has quickly made the transition into reality with more than 63% of businesses in the U.S. having a project involving wearable tech already underway in some form according to a study by the research group Vanson Bourne. As wearable tech becomes a common feature in the workplace, business leaders and workers will get to see many of the benefits it offers, but they’ll also need to address many of the concerns it raises.
Supporters of wearable tech say one of the biggest advantages its adoption brings is a significant increase in worker productivity. A study from the Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London appears to support this idea. In that study, research showed that employees who used three wearable tech devices increased their productivity by 8.5%. This boost in employee productivity can come in various different ways, but one strategy that businesses are implementing is through employee monitoring. Through this method, managers would be able to use wearable tech to track employees and their activities. The data collected from these actions can help managers decide where workers and their skills would be best suited while also streamlining operations for maximum efficiency. One wearable device that might be used for this type of activity could be the GENEActiv wristband, which was actually used as part of the study.
Another major benefit seen from the same Goldsmiths study is more happiness while on the job. The study showed that workers who used wearable technology had a 3.5% increase in job satisfaction. Wearable devices have plenty of impressive capabilities; some are able to scan and record an employee’s biometric data to get a good picture of the worker’s health and wellbeing. From the data that’s collected from the employee, business managers may be able to optimize the workplace environment for the employee. Biometric data may also affect how managers schedule their employees, mainly to take advantage of the times of day when workers are at their best.
Wearable technology can also benefit workers by giving them easy access to vital information that their job needs.
Through a wrist-mounted PC or even Google Glass, employees wouldn’t have to fumble around with a smartphone since the information would be available at the press of a button or a voice command. One field where this could make a big difference is in hospitals and other medical facilities. By giving nurses and doctors immediate access to electronic medical records, patient outcomes would likely be improved since they would be getting better treatment by informed medical professionals.
Wearable Tech Concerns
With the rise of new technology in the workplace, there also comes new concerns and worries. First and foremost is the issue of security. Businesses are already dealing with the concerns stemming from BYOD security regarding data loss and theft, and wearable technology introduces another element companies will need to address. The issue of privacy is another area that affects businesses and employees alike. Being able to track and monitor workers may improve productivity, but businesses run the risk of taking things too far, especially if companies are monitoring an employee’s health. Some businesses are also not quite convinced wearable technology can improve productivity since wearable devices can also lead to added distractions of employees. Wearable tech can also put added strain on a business’s IT department that’s already dealing with new technologies that are popping up all over the place. To put wearable technology to its best use, businesses need to find a way to deal with these concerns before they develop into big problems.
Concerns aside, the potential behind wearable technology represents a unique opportunity for businesses willing to take a bit of a risk. Some companies, like The Container Store, have already made wearable devices a part of their operation, and the results have been impressive. This new technology could revolutionize how businesses are run, and employees stand to benefit greatly as well.
~ Rick Delgado