Find out what utilizing wearables in the workplace can do for employees
Seventy-two percent of companies have begun using sensor-enabled IoT tools that wirelessly relay information at work, according to a Hewlett Packard Enterprise report — such as a personal device that can identify an employee’s location via GPS.
The report findings suggest sensor technology may be able to provide sizeable returns. Eighty-two percent of global IT professionals said business efficiency has increased since they’ve added the functionality.
Sensor use can also potentially help employers improve several other operational aspects. A number of businesses are currently utilizing sensors and IoT — and others may soon start — to achieve some of the following outcomes:
Greener office management
Gauging current room conditions and occupancy can help employers avoid wasteful energy consumption. Remote utility monitoring, including energy use, was one of enterprises’ leading use cases for IoT and sensor technology, according to Hewlitt Packard’s findings; more than half (56 percent) have added sensors and IoT to air conditioning and lighting systems.
More effective office design
Two Harvard University researchers used wearable sensor devices to gauge the impact of the open workspace on human collaboration. Despite the fact an open layout is often thought to encourage employees to be social, findings from two studies the researchers conducted involving corporate headquarters transitioning to more freeform office spaces revealed the structure actually decreased face-to-face interactions by 70 percent.
Using technology to increase productivity and well-being
A 2014 study in which U.K. employees wore sensor devices for a month found they helped increase productivity by 8.5 percent and job satisfaction by 3.5 percent.
Separate research showed company health and wellness initiatives involving sensor technology could also have a positive affect: In one, partially subsidizing Fitbit activity trackers and offering other health-related incentives helped employees at an Ohio-based regional transportation organization decrease their cholesterol levels by 12 points and glucose levels by 17 points, on average — and saved their employer $2.3 million over two years, according to an analysis.
Incorporating sensors and IoT isn’t always an ideal solution for every employer. The technology produces a significant amount of information, which companies may need to analyze to determine what changes to make; and as of three years ago, only eight percent of organizations that had adopted the devices said they were completely ready to gain actionable insights from data they generated, according to a Salesforce survey.
In addition, concerns about security persist. More than a third of IT professionals feel wearable sensors are highly vulnerable to Wi-Fi cyberattacks, according to a Spiceworks poll. Employees, too, are apprehensive about their information being shared. Thirty-eight percent of U.K. workers don’t trust their employer to use data that’s collected to benefit employees, according to PwC research.
To find out more about wearable technology and sensor use, read our blog post on using wearables in the workplace — and if you’re still a bit unsure exactly what IoT, embedded sensors and other types of emerging tech involve, our blog post on hot HR terms that are currently big in the industry should be able to help clear up any confusion.