A growing number of our customers are building their employee wellness strategy around the use of wearable devices. What’s so appealing about this new technology—besides the ‘cool’ factor?
In the world of wearable technology, we certainly have come a long way. Right from the 13th century eyeglasses to the 16th century pocket watches, wearable technology as a phenomenon has evolved and become disruptive in the era that it appeared. Wearables as a technology is not a novel concept any more. In fact, it has been existing for years. But now, it has definitely evolved into a more refined avatar.
It might be tempting to ignore wearables as some kind of geek fad, but we can’t risk ignoring how wearable technology is disrupting our lives as a consumer. For instance, watches are not just timepieces anymore, they’re called ‘smartwatches’ – that apart from telling the time, they can now monitor your heart rate, tell you the number of steps you’ve walked, double up as a personal bot that takes voice commands and, also helps you make calls and send out emails. What if such devices are provisioned for a workforce? It will help them get better at work. Adoption won’t be an issue either because workforces are already accustomed to using them — be it smart glasses, smart earpieces, helmets, wristbands or a range or clip on sensors.
While they are gaining traction in the consumer markets, wearable devices are increasingly becoming popular in the enterprise segment as well. They help make the digital workplace more conducive to boost employee productivity. Some of the top regulatory and advisory boards across the globe have predicted that in three years from now, approximately 75 million wearable devices would penetrate the enterprise segment. Primarily because they can be fine-tuned to the enterprise requirements, are scalable and integrate into day-to-day operations of the company, which, in turn, is the key for increasing employee engagement in the digital workplace.
For our clients, existing and new, we are partnering with their HR and IT departments to formalize what we call ‘Wearables Inclusive Employee Welfare Programs’ to tweak employee productivity. The introduction of these employee wellness programs into the workplace ecosystem enables organizations to track and positively influence the well-being of their most important asset: their workforce. We don’t need research to tell us that better physical and mental health results in improved decision making, performance and focus. Plus, the employees feel valued when they see their organization investing in solutions that would help them lead a healthier life, both at work and outside of it.
Under the category of wearable technology at work, HCL solution stack comprises of products ranging from smart safety helmets, smart safety jackets and smart watches to virtual/augmented/mixed reality glasses, speciality clip-on devices and biometric authentication bands. Customers from every industry find unique values in each of these, and harness their powers to improve business processes. Hands-free remote support using live video feed on smart glasses, tracking critical resources at remote sites, ensuring the safety of miners, oil rig/factory workers using smart jackets/helmets, proximity based biometric authentication using bands, sending alerts on smart watches or simply redefining the method of training and knowledge transfer using holographic headsets are only some of the interesting use cases; the list goes on. There is a wearable for everyone, helping get better at work and more, irrespective of the work profile.
Each of these solutions is very different from one another, except for one very important attribute. All of these wearable devices come equipped with smart sensors that continuously track the user’s health and environment. All the vitals of the user, such as activity, heart rate, temperature and blood pressure, along with the environment details, such as temperature, air quality, altitude and location, are measured and analysed. Even for an office worker, simply tracking these data points and tweaking habits based on recommendations go a long way. Such additions to the workplace enable HR managers and policy makers to merge organizational goals at the enterprise level with the welfare of their employees.
Wearables Inclusive Employee Welfare Programs provide a vast range of information that can be used for many purposes. Averting accidents and improving the overall health of employees are the primary focus areas around which these programs are developed on. But the collected information can also help organizations foresee critical health emergencies or epidemics. Any kind of lead time to handle such problems can result in considerable benefits. Gradually, more and more companies and employees are embracing wearables at the workplace and are noticing a significant difference. International studies reveal that there’s an expected improvement of 10% in productivity by the inclusion of such wearable inclusive programs in the digital workplace.
If wearables at workplace become an integral part of the policy making process and used correctly, wisely and noninvasively (so as to not interfere with the employee’s personal space), wearable inclusive welfare programs can do wonders for employees and the company as a whole.
Wearables will keep evolving to provide a more sustainable, persistent digital identity to their employees, which will extend beyond the workplace. Going forward, instead of employees having to wear/work with multiple gadgets, a unified device will provide a seamless access to information using sensors and other technologies. We expect to see more savvy employers choosing wearables to make their workplaces smarter. Wearable technology will become a staple in comprehensive workplace wellness programs of the future.