Wearable technology – are you ready?
‘Wearables and gadgets have become living organisms in the human ecosystem that are helping us become better and do more.’
With greater digitization and the increasing proliferation of smart phones, as well as the increasing affordability of wearable devices, we’re seeing the potential for wearables to play a greater role at work.
On the learning and development front, wearables can tap the trend for learning to be personalized to suit learner needs. The potential for interactivity, which is good for learning, is immense. eNyota also suggest that wearable tech paves the way for enhanced collaboration, immediate feedback and richer insights, instant access and real-time support, and immersive experiences for better product training. They cite the use of wearables in learning as the next step in the evolution of mobile learning, and, a possible next big disrupter in eLearning.
Wearable technology can track health and wellness data for employee well being, and for better work-life balance. The Fitbit 3-month step challenge encourages employees to stand up from their desks and to walk more. Jawbone is conducting the largest sleep study in human history. Data collected can be translated into personalized actions and recommendations, and the same is true for organisations tracking employee’s work habits. “Data becomes personalized and actionable for each employee, thanks to wearables.” Kris Duggan, CEO of BetterWorks, “wearable technology paired with the right apps and programs for quantifying work can offer benefits for both employees and employers.” Take a look at their Betterworks App as an example. It enables setting and management of goals and shows real-time goal progress without interrupting workflow. With devices we can record meetings and conversations, scan the documents we work with, take pictures and navigate our way around. And that’s just the tip of an evolving iceberg.
It sounds like the future could be bright with wearable teach. So will it be? That depends. Are your employees ready to make use smartwatches or glasses at work, and are you prepared for training them to use such devices?
Many employers aren’t quite ready to jump on the wearables bandwagon, PwC found that just 3 percent of companies were investing in wearable technology in 2015. And the majority of the 2015 Training Top 125 winners reported they weren’t using wearable technology for employee wellness or productivity purposes, others were taking a “wait and see” position. Training Magazine in their article ‘Wearables at work” show that there are some concerns around data security, privacy, and other HR-related issues. How will personal health data that is collected be used? Will it be shared? What will happen if devices are synced, will company sensitive data be moved from device to device? Can data be wiped? These are real questions. But wearable tech is not going away, and in a fiercely competitive working world, it appears more likely that getting to grips with the challenges posed might be a better long term strategy than not engaging at all.
If you are thinking about using wearable tech, here are a few pointers:
- If implementing a wearable technology strategy, define your immediate and long-term goals, be specific about what you want to achieve
- Select a wearable strategy that works best for everyone across the company—from entry-level employees to middle managers and beyond
- Communicate the strategy well and train employees on the policies associated with it
- Consider incentivising employees to enhance uptake
- Ensure that your wearable technology is user-friendly and easy to use.