Wearables in the workplace: three innovative use cases

Wearable technology has been evolving in recent years beyond smartwatches for fitness tracking. There has been rapid development of robust new products that can enhance workplace productivity. Are you making the most of recent developments in this space? Here are three innovative use cases where wearables can offer value to your business.

1. ‘Hearables’ bring spoken clarity

The first hearables were earpieces that provided basic functionality like filtering out background noise in busy environments but allowing speech through. New hearables are providing more functionality in a business setting. Imagine a situation where your executive team is visiting an offshore location. Instead of using a local translator your team can use in-ear translation tools together with smartphones to instantly translate spoken speech.

Wearables are progressing quickly in this area to support the baby boomer generation who are getting older yet make up a large part of the workforce. We’re seeing wearables that are putting processing power inside of tiny ear pieces so that hearables can do more on their own.

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2. Wearables take ergonomics to the next level

Ergonomics is a serious business in today’s workplace, especially with an aging population. How often have you done ergo assessments of an employee’s work station and provided specialized tools like modified chairs or stand up desks at an additional cost? An employee can become frustrated and less productive when work movements are repetitive and painful. Ergonomics assessments often fall short since an employee goes back to bad habits after the observation period is over.

Wearables can help you to improve this situation by constantly monitoring an employee’s movements and providing instant feedback. Do your employees slouch over their keyboards with bad neck position or posture? There are wearables for the back of the head, neck and back that can help your employees by vibrating or sending an alert to a smartphone to correct problem areas.

3. Wearables for chronic conditions

Chronic conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure and depression carry a heavy cost to an employer’s health insurance if they are not managed properly. These illnesses are often controlled through diet and medication. There are new wearables on the market that build on basic wrist fitness tracker functionality to log additional data elements that are useful in managing chronic conditions.

These wearables can track data points like body temperature and how quickly a user’s heart rate is increasing. When elements fall outside of the normal zone the wearable can interact with an employee’s smartphone to send alerts and warnings. The use of these wearables helps to create a full picture of a worker’s habits and numbers to facilitate the management of these conditions.

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Heather Batyski

About the author…

Heather is an experienced HRMS analyst, consultant and manager. Having worked for companies such as Deloitte, Franklin Templeton and Oracle, Heather has first-hand experience of many HRMS solutions including Peoplesoft and Workday.

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Heather Batyski