By Lee-Ann Watanabe, Wellness Educator

Digital wearable technology is fast changing how we do things in the workplace. Wearables such as fitness trackers and smart watches are popular now more than ever as employees “plug in”.

According to a PwC report, The Wearable Life 2.0: Connected Living in a Wearable World, by 2020, more than 75 million wearables will permeate the workplace, according to the research firm Tractica.

With technology continually getting better, this is a golden opportunity for companies to utilize digital wearable technology to further develop (and enrich) their wellness initiatives.

Here are three benefits that wearable technologies can bring to the workplace.

1. Improve Employee Health and Productivity

Encouraging your employees to wear fitness trackers is a fun way for employees to keep track of their health. Through digital platforms synced with wearable devices, employers, and workers themselves can evaluate their health and lifestyle status, identify health risks, and make healthier diet and lifestyle choices. As a result, research has shown that an increase in fitness levels correlates with increased productivity, morale, work satisfaction and just overall happiness.

2. Increase Workplace Safety

Work stress can predispose employees to injuries and accidents at work. Companies are jumping on the wearable tech bandwagon by introducing wearable devices that can monitor and check an individual’s stress levels within the work place. In addition, with the appropriate permissions, many wearable tech devices have the ability to allow HR professionals to track things such as employee heart rate, stress, and level of fatigue. This has the potential to decrease the risk of accidents at work caused by exhaustion, in turn, lowering the rates of absenteeism.

3. Improve Work Place Wellness Program Participation

To drive participation in wellness programs, employers may introduce incentives with the use of wearable devices or offer advanced apps with in-built incentives for employee participation. These incentives may include lunch vouchers, gift cards, or fitness clothing for achieving an activity goal such as hitting a daily step challenge over a specified time period. Furthermore, wearable tech can be used to create friendly work place team challenges where employees can encourage one another, support each other and aid in their success as a whole, thus bringing your staff together, creating a sustainable culture of wellness.

Have you integrated wearable technology into your benefits programs? What have been your results so far? Please share in comments!

WYAO Hawaii is designed to support companies in the shift from an ‘activity-based’ wellness program to a thriving, integrated results-oriented wellness system. We are grounded in a nationally recognized and research-based model to assist companies through a seven-step sequence toward Workplace Wellness Success.

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