How wearable tech can help your employees
Wearable tech has seen a growing trend in recent years, with 36% of 25-49 years olds having and using wearable tech on a regular basis.
The number of users of wearable tech such as smartwatches and fitness trackers is forecasted* to increase by 52.83% between 2023 and 2027. So it’s likely that many of your workforce are already using wearables in some form.
Its increasing popularity is down to the ease and convenience wearable tech brings to everyday life and in helping you keep on top of your own health and wellbeing.
Wearable tech can therefore, in turn, help provide businesses/managers with new and unique opportunities to engage employees, in particular with fitness ideas/initiatives in the workplace. Additionally, it encourages employees to take control of their own health to stay well. Engaging employees in this way helps to foster a healthy, positive, motivational environment, that also brings a sense of togetherness in the workplace – something that’s particularly helpful in hybrid working environments.
Here are 4 ways you can engage with employees, using their wearable tech.
1. Monitoring physical health
Through informative workshops and training sessions, employers can motivate employees to monitor their own fitness levels, such as heart rate or blood pressure and demonstrate how being more mindful of what their ‘normal’ is can help detect and prevent any physical health issues early on. Research shows that smartwatches could even detect Parkinson’s up to seven years before symptoms begin to appear!
Smartwatches can also make it easy for employees with chronic conditions to manage their medication, with the ability to set automatic reminders and track doses. Plus, with features to track calorie intake and sleep cycles, employees can stay well-informed about their diet and overall wellbeing.
2. Monitoring mental health levels
The benefits of monitoring also extend to mental health. Being able to track their emotional wellbeing and stress levels through wearables means employees can take a more proactive approach to prevent burnout or high stress.
Some wearables alert users if there’s a spike, which helps make employees self-aware of their mental wellbeing and nudge them to take a break. Plus, mindfulness apps on wearable devices can support employees in taking better care of their mental health and regularly practising mindfulness has shown to help people with stress, anxiety and depression.
3. Interactive challenges
A fun and interactive way to engage your employees with their physical health is through step challenges or buddy ups that can help them get out of their regular routine and into a more active lifestyle. Plus, it’s a great way to socialise outside of work in ways that promote better physical health and don’t involve alcohol.
If your team is up for it, you could also set up workplace wide challenges for longer term goals, such as marathons. It can help inspire employees to embrace healthier habits and avoid sitting at their desk all day – which could potentially reduce the risk of health issues such as DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis.
Not only will physical activity nurture better wellbeing at work, it can also give a significant boost to your staff’s productivity. Research has consistently shown that a healthy worker is a better worker!
4. Reducing screen time
Promoting a healthier balance between screen time and work is a growing concern among UK businesses. The average screen time among UK adults has grown up to five hours per day, in addition to any screen-related work.
Staring at a screen for a long period of time can lead to ‘digital eye strain’, which can include watery or extremely dry eyes, headaches and double or blurred vision, as well as neck or back pain. Employees are likely to have difficulty focusing, making it difficult to get tasks done in time, and correctly.
The hands-free convenience of wearable tech helps reduce the time spent looking at screens as people can access information, perform tasks and stay connected without using mobiles and laptops. This is especially handy for people who are frequently on the move, such as teachers, hospitality workers or healthcare workers.
Overall, wearable tech undeniably has the potential to make workplaces better connected, productive, and positive environments. With the right support from employers, wearable devices could help employees become healthier, happier and more productive while also boosting their quality of life.
For more information on how to better look after your employees’ wellbeing, head over to our mental health workplace hub. You can also find out how to keep your workforce happy and healthy by signing up to our employee engagement newsletter.
* Statista, 'UK: fitness/activity tracking wristwear ad spending 2017-2027', https://www.statista.com/forecasts/1370217/fitness-or-activity-tracking-wrist-wear-market-revenue-uk.