Technology opens up a realm of possibilities for employees to work faster and smarter. But how happy would your staff be to share personal data garnered from a smartwatch or activity tracker with your company and could improved technology, like the Swedish company that recently embedded microchips under employee’s skin, enable businesses to take it too far?
A recent survey showed that 56% of employees would be happy to wear and make use of a work-supplied smartwatch if it would benefit them in their working life; whether through the ability to work flexible hours, work remotely or to assist with health screening.
Use of results
Whilst this is a positive statistic, and certainly many businesses could no doubt make use of the data received, many employees are concerned about the risk of businesses using data against them. Could an activity tracker and the correlating data lead to their company removing benefits, privileges or at worst – terminating their contract?
I think these are quite extreme in terms of actions for a company to take because of the data they have received from smart devices, but in industries and job roles where, for example, health and fitness is paramount there certainly could be some negative impact if the results received are underwhelming.
One way that companies could ensure that employees were happy to use the devices, with the company still receiving data, is to anonymise data so that it cannot be accrued to one individual. This would allow staff to have some form of discretion around their information, while businesses still having an overall view on performance.
By doing this and not attributing data to individuals companies will avoid the possibility of data being contrived. Smartwatches and similar devices are not fool proof – employees with concerns could influence data or share the device with another person to get the results they want or need.
Whilst the activity monitoring side of smart devices is useful, just how else could the wearable technology improve working life? Well, the latest release from Apple enables you to do all sorts of things from the touch of your wrist.
From checking emails to making phone calls, updating social media websites and receiving notifications – the first smartwatch from the brand enables employees to increase productivity because instead of needing to reach for their phone, and ultimately become distracted through doing so, they can quickly and easy check all requests for their attentions on their watch and action them as required.
So, could wearable technology improve working life? Personally I think so if used in the correct way; it would however be important for companies to have individual policies in place to ensure the confidentiality of their information and also to confirm how any data retrieved from smart devices is to be used and handled.