Companies in a range of industries are beginning to integrate wearable technology into the workplace in hopes of increasing their productivity. From warehouses to offices and hospitals to restaurants, employees in a range of work settings can benefit from the time-saving qualities of wearable tech.
Potential Drawbacks of Wearable Technology
Although research has shown that wearable tech can increase productivity in the workplace, some employers may still have reservations about implementing this change at their offices. Some potential risks involved with your staff using wearable technology at work include that it:
- Could be distracting for some employees who use it incorrectly
- Requires a substantial up-front financial investment to provide everyone with the same technology
- May involve a significant amount of time for deployment and training depending on the tech-savviness of your team
- Might cause some employees to feel like they are being overly monitored
How Wearable Technology Increases Work Productivity
Despite these potential downfalls, wearable technology can increase work productivity in many ways when used correctly. Here are four examples of how wearable tech can improve productivity in the workplace.
1. Boosts Efficiency and Speed
Wearable technology has several features that can boost the speed at which your employees can complete their day-to-day tasks.
Voice commands are especially vital in the time-saving department, allowing users to make notes, set reminders and more, all hands-free. Wearable tech also simplifies employees’ time management responsibilities, such as scheduling, managing to-do lists and time tracking. This allows people to make the most use of their time and accomplish more tasks within a shorter period.
A March 2014 study at Goldsmiths, University of London, found that wearable technology increased users’ overall productivity by 8.5%. “The Human Cloud at Work” studied 120 employees at a global media agency in London who began using wearable tech at work.
Study participants also noted that wearable tech helped them increase their awareness of their activity and productivity, which encouraged them to work harder.
2. Improves Communication
Another work-friendly feature of wearable tech is that it streamlines employee communications and, therefore, improve their customer service skills and response times on current projects. Most wearable tech also lets the user choose which notifications they want to receive on their watches.
So, for example, they may decide to block their notifications for text messages from non-work-related contacts, but allow email notifications from big clients to come through. By filtering the people and apps that they receive notifications from, employees can minimize the potential for distraction.
3. Supports Health-Conscious Employees
Most early forms of wearable technology were intended for health purposes, and the industry has evolved to include gadgets that can accomplish even more. However, almost every model for wearable tech still includes fitness and health-related features, such as step counters, mileage trackers and even food logs.
By providing your employees with wearable tech, you’re giving them a tool that will help them be productive while also reaching their health and fitness goals.
Having a healthy staff is important because several studies have shown that healthier employees are typically more productive than people who do not exercise regularly or maintain a healthy diet. A 2012 study from Brigham Young University analyzed the productivity of 19,803 employees at three large companies in separate geographic regions.
The research found that employees who followed unhealthy diets were 66% more likely to have decreased productivity, while those who did not exercise during the day were 96% more likely to see declines in productivity.
4. Increases Employee Satisfaction
Who doesn’t like getting new stuff? Providing your team with wearable tech will show them you value their time and dedication to your company, thus increasing overall employee satisfaction. Research shows happier employees who feel more appreciated will be more productive than unhappy workers.
One 2015 study conducted by the Social Market Foundation revealed that employees are up to 20% more productive when they are happy and feel appreciated at work. If you look at productivity rates in salespeople, happiness levels are even more influential — happy salespeople will secure 37% more sales than unhappy employees.
How to Decide If You Should Use Wearables at Your Workplace
If you’re still on the fence about using wearable tech at your office or other workplace, think about the types of people you have on your staff. If you think they’d be able to adapt well to new technology and manage their usage to avoid distractions, it might be worth a shot to reap the significant productivity benefits.