The popularity of wearable technology has grown rapidly since the introduction of the Fitbit in 2013. Initially seen as a status symbol for the Millennial generation, wearable technology is being taken to a new level as a wide range of industries harness the technology in the pursuit of data.
One in six modern consumers wears a piece of technology on their wrist on a daily basis. The number of active Fitbit users currently stands at 23 million, and the Apple iWatch has a very healthy 55% share of the wearables OS market. And these statistics are expected to increase quite significantly over the next couple of years as more business and industries adopt wearable technology into everyday use.
David Kosmayer, the CEO of Toronto-based website builders Bookmark.com, has successfully implemented wearable technology in his business. The devices are already having a hugely positive impact.
“Wearable technologies (specifically smartwatches) are a really crucial component of our daily business activities,” he said. “As a North-American startup with a development team located in Europe, smartwatches really revolutionized the way we are connected. It resulted in a smoother business operation where every employee is connected and have direct access to instant notifications. This drastically improved our communication and allowed us to tackle technical issues very quickly!”
By the end of 2018, it’s estimated that 13 million wearable devices will be worn in a workplace environment on a daily basis, with many of them expected to be included in employee wellness schemes. Analysts also believe that two million employees will be expected to wear a health tracking device as a condition in their contract.
It’s employee data that businesses are so keen to harness. When a device is worn, it will allow employers to collect and analyse data regarding the health and wellbeing of their employees. This analysis should, in theory, lead to workplace improvements. So, with all the positive data surrounding wearables in the workplace, the question is, do they have a place there?
Statistics show that 65% of people believe that technology has a strong part to play in their overall health and wellbeing. 61% believe their employer should be playing an active role. The positive trends for its mass introduction seem overwhelming.
So, what’s the future for wearable technology in your office? Well, if the statistics continue to follow this positive trend for more inclusion of wearable technology, especially from the millennial generation, a logical progression could be to see virtual reality headsets such as the (Oculus Rift) used instead of desktop monitors. So theoretically, there could be a device on your wrist for connection with your colleagues, and another over your eyes with a virtual monitor.
Ozair Akhtar, the Marketing & Business Development manager at Monily, says wearable technology allows his staff to stay connected.
“Monily has a progressive approach to wearable technology,” says Ozair. Even though we’re a startup, we’ve managed to set funds aside for wearable technology for our staff. These wearables helps the team to stay connected – they receive notifications even when they are not available in their seats. When staff go out for lunch or are busy in meetings, they can easily get important notifications and connect with other staff members without the use of phones. We can also monitor the health and wellbeing of elderly staff.”
You can also expect to see wearable technology become a powerful HR tool in the near future. Studies have demonstrated that companies who have implemented wearable technology have experienced a drop in health care costs and fewer lost workdays due to sickness, an aspect that could be a huge benefit to businesses in the UK. PWC found that the UK has a higher level of sickness than both Europe and the US.
For now, wearable technology is a great tool for communication and to observe the overall health and wellbeing of an employee. If you want to make better overall workplace decisions, improve workplace communication, and encourage a healthy work environment, it might be something to consider.