It's safe to say that the modern workplace and culture has undergone a radical transformation in the last few years. One area of continued growth and change revolves around the corporate wellness space.
Companies aren't solely focusing on the typical physical components anymore. They're now also giving proper attention to the emotional and mental components.
With that said, there's another growing area that companies would be wise to pay attention to and that is wearable technologies.
The idea of having some sort of device to track your steps, heart rate, and various other biomarkers isn't new per se. What's new is the level of sophistication and the steady rise of them inside the workplace.
According to a PwC report, The Wearable Life 2.0: Connected Living in a Wearable World, by 2020, more than 75 million wearables will permeate the workplace, according to the research firm Tractica.
With technology continually getting better, this is a golden opportunity for companies to utilize this tool to further develop (and enrich) their wellness initiatives.
Here are three benefits that wearable technologies can bring to the workplace.
1. Improved culture and camaraderie
Often times, many companies develop tunnel vision toward their production metrics and profits while wellness gets lost in the shuffle. While the profits and production metrics are critical to the companies longevity, the well being of their staff is directly correlated to the overall big picture.
One way to improve the culture of a company is to get and sustain employees who operate on the same page. Achieving work goals is one thing, but getting them to feel better as a collective whole is even more important. Utilizing various wearables, you have the opportunity to create group challenges, competitions, and incentives to unify the workplace.
2. Improved preventive care for employees
With wearables becoming more sophisticated and able to track various metrics, employers will be able to help employees from a holistic standpoint. Not merely counting steps, but also being able to measure various recovery metrics which play a vital role in their health.
For example, approximately 84 million American adults (more than 1 out of 3) have prediabetes where 90 percent of those don't even know they have it according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention.
The U.S. was recently named the 35th healthiest country largely due to being reactive instead of proactive in regards to people's health. A large majority of people's lives are spent in the workplace. Therefore, focused efforts must be placed in the workplace.
Utilizing wearables could be a valuable tool because it'll bring awareness to the everyday decisions that employees make.
3. Reduced health care costs for everyone
While focusing on health in the workplace benefits employers in the sense that it reduces their health associated costs due to fewer illnesses. Bringing more focus on wellness to the workplace helps employees as well in the sense that the chances of experiencing a major illness (or even chronic illness) lowers.
It's no secret that finances are a stress to many Americans and a large portion of that stress for many are medical bills. In a study published in Health Affairs, researchers looked for trends in Census data paired with anonymous 2016 credit records for more than 4 million Americans from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Consumer Credit Panel.
In the study, one in six Americans has past-due health care bills on their credit report which resulted in a debt of $81 billion (in which millennials carried the largest percentage).
Technology will continually advance in the coming years and workplaces would be wise to integrate as much as they can in the coming years. Combining technology with workplace wellness not only creates healthier employees, but also, more engaged and higher-performing employees.