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The Pursuit of App-iness. Does Wearable Technology Have a Place in your Business?

Our New Year’s fitness resolutions are holding up well in the office. In addition to our pre-existing healthy workplace habits, we are all taking small (monitored) steps to increase out health and fitness. We are drinking gallons of green tea, exercising regularly and the latest thing we’re investigating is standing desks. As an employer I am all for energy, fitness and increased productivity, all of which can be supported by the use of standing desks. But in this case my staff asked me if they could have them….. Team members Kirsty and Lauren both sport wearable technology to track their progress which has been a bit of an eye opener for me. I’m not sure if I want to be quite so high tech as they are, but I can definitely see benefits, both business and personal of wearing equipment that records (amongst other things) miles run calories burned, resting heart rate and, sleep patterns.

Over the last two of years we have seen a huge increase in the use of wearable technology. The main technology retailers Apple, Windows and Samsung have jumped on the bandwagon and providing a range of high quality innovative watches. There are more specialist organisations out there too, including Garmin, Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit and Pebble.

The wearable sector is still growing rapidly and there’s no end in sight. The growth has come from wellbeing schemes, corporate health groups and inquisitive Joe Bloggs wanting to know how many steps he does a day.

There are a number of business benefit to wearable technology, the first of which is improved health. Fitness wearable technology and sports watches encourage wearers to look after themselves, making it easier to stay healthy on a day-to-day basis. The benefit to the employer is that raised awareness and healthier habits is likely to reduce employee sickness days and generally improve motivation in the workplace.

Kirsty has a Fitbit Charge HR, this monitors her heart rate, phone calls, movement and steps throughout the day. Lauren has a Garmin Vivofit2 which gives the same readings but doesn’t monitor heartrate and phone calls. Both are mid-range tech and come in under £130. By measuring their steps both Kirsty and Lauren can monitor how much movement they are doing a day. If they are not meeting and maintaining their targets they can tailor what they are doing to try an increase their chances. There’s some gentle competition going on between them which encourages then both to take a few steps more each day.

Workplace productivity is said to increase with wearable technology. It is thought that having a hands-free device increases productivity by 8.5% and satisfaction by 3.5% as employees receive and look at information when they are out and about, as well as sending back the data they receive. Couple this with specialised apps which allow businesses to be even more efficient whilst they’re working the opportunities are unlimited.

Client care can also improve. Having rapid access to company data wherever you are can improve the level of customer care making for a more pleasant and competent service. There is also some evidence that employees are more motivated when using wearable technology.

The potential for collecting data using wearable tech makes it possible for employees to get instant information on your customers, which is very useful for marketing purposes.

Technology has now been created which can film or otherwise track employees to see what an employee did while out working on a job. You may think this is a bit invasive, but this type of technology can also protect employees’ interests and safety and also helps to resolve problems faster and with more successfully.

I was reading a recent article on pcadvisor and they said and I quote ‘Smartwatches are to the smartphone what wristwatches were to the pocket watch.’ Wearable technology is here to stay. Make the best use of it in your business.

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