Employees Want Wearable Devices, Overwhelmed by Technology

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2014-12-01 Print this article Print
health it and wearable tech

Eight in 10 full-time employees would be motivated to use company-provided wearable tech allowing employers to track their health and wellness data.

While some workers are overwhelmed by information and technology, more than six in 10 (61 percent) workers believe that work overload is most harmful to their productivity, according to a study released by cloud-based application for talent management developer Cornerstone OnDemand, conducted in collaboration with Kelton.

The study found eight in 10 full-time employees would be motivated to use company-provided wearable tech that allows employers to track their health and wellness data.

Some would be enticed to do this in exchange for benefits such as extra 5 percent end-of-year bonuses (67 percent), reduced health insurance premiums (57 percent) or discounts to exercise programs (36 percent).

Nearly the same amount of employees (76 percent) would be willing to do the same for wearable tech that tracks job performance and productivity.

In exchange, respondents would be open to receiving an extra vacation day for each month’s data (54 percent), a flexible and remote work schedule (46 percent) or a workweek reduced by 5 percent (41 percent).

"On the health and fitness side, there’s a wide range of technologies being employed like the Fitbit, the Jawbone Up band, and the Nike Fuelband," Michael Housman, chief analytics officer for Cornerstone OnDemand, told eWEEK. "There are also apps you can download for your phone that track the number of steps you’ve taken, your caloric intake and the number of trips you’ve taken to the gym. On the data side, companies like Audax Health are creating ways to integrate all these different data streams into one interface and then gamify the experience to encourage people to engage in healthy behaviors."

While only 12 percent of those surveyed use wearable tech for work, a little over seven in 10 (71 percent) wearable tech users say that it has helped them to be more productive.

That number of users is expected to grow, with 72 percent of employees believing that wearable tech in the workplace will eventually become standard.

Survey results also indicated the demand is there, as 66 percent of workers would be willing to use wearable tech if it helped them do their job better, a 7 percent increase from last year.

"Right now, we’re hearing employees complain about clunky interfaces, information overload and decreases in productivity being caused by some of this technology," Housman said. "My personal opinion is that we’re still at a relatively early stage in this evolution but we’re already seeing huge gains each year and I personally believe that the hardware and software is going to become smarter and more effective over time."

When it comes to workplace distractions, 43 percent of employees say that impromptu visits by coworkers are the biggest productivity killer.

The top work environment that employees feel fosters the most productivity is an enclosed office (37 percent), followed by partitioned cubicles (23 percent) and open desk layouts (19 percent).

However, more than one-quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed said they feel like they can’t turn off their job outside of work hours or even while on vacation.

Around two-third (65 percent) of respondents said that, given the right technology, in-person meetings could be completely replaced. However, only 19 percent are currently being allowed to work remotely by their employers.

"There’s no question that technology is making significant inroads within the workplace and will continue to do so in the future: employees are using more hardware, downloading more software, and are now being asked to use wearable devices as well," Housman said. "But the question about whether technology will become more of a burden or more of a help depends simply on whether that technology helps them become healthier, more engaged, and more productive."


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