Consumer and home tech devices are seeing a sharp increase in popularity, with the ceiling nowhere in sight. Wearable tech is a growing segment of the technology industry.
How can a company use smart
gadgets? What benefits will the wearable technology field bring to employees
and a business’ bottom line? Read on to find out.
The market for fitness trackers, smartwatches and clothing sensors is starting to find its groove. Although receiving less coverage in the popular media, the solutions for businesses to explore are endless.
Wearable tech has a huge part to play in the office, the field, and in other industrial environments. The average office worker and the average coal miner have unique needs in safety and productivity.
However, all workers still face these same difficulties.
Businesses can use anything from Bluetooth headsets to complete exosuits. Whether staring at a screen all day or operating 300-ton dump-trucks, wearable tech in business can have positive effects on worker safety, productivity, and process efficiency.
Increasing Workplace Safety
Worker safety is an issue that can affect every resource that a business has: it’s equipment, it’s time, and it’s people. Wearable tech helps minimize damage to all of those segments.
Many solutions exist, such as ball-cap sensors, wearable cameras, heart rate trackers, and vests. The list goes on and on.
Imagination is the only thing limiting the applications for this technology.
- Cameras can track work practices or give information on how an incident occurred. Installed in vehicles, they can monitor worker fatigue.
- Smart glasses can access instructions and equipment manuals, aiding in on-the-job training. This hands-free approach also makes the work environment safer.
- Vests or hats with sensors can control exposure with heart rate and respiration trackers. If any metric reaches unsafe levels, the alert notifies the worker.
- Wearable GPS devices help workers stay clear of hazardous areas.
- Wearable “SOS” or panic button can shorten response times to accident sites.
- For office workers, encouraging the use of simple step counters or heart rate trackers creates incentives to get sedentary workers up and moving. Many businesses are incorporating fitness trackers into their wellness packages for employees.
A safe work environment contributes to worker satisfaction. A satisfied skilled worker is the most valuable one. Safe and satisfied workers are more productive and stay in the organization for longer periods of time.
Keeping workers safe should be of paramount importance to any employer and wearable technology makes safety protocols easier to enforce.
Improving Process Efficiency
Businesses processes can be the most frustrating things to revamp. People get used to doing things a certain way and changing mindsets and processes can be an uphill battle.
Introducing new technologies is an easy way to make process improvement less painful. Wireless Bluetooth headsets may seem like a simple thing, but the ability to use both hands while speaking to another person or listening to instructions can help tasks get done faster and with less hassle.
Any wearable device collects data. Businesses can use that data to look for operational inefficiencies. Data is crucial in today’s market, and every business needs to think about how they can become more data-driven and leverage the information at hand.
When employees wear cameras on-site, they can help management figure out how to improve the order of steps taken and task efficiency.
Knowing when workers face the most fatigue can lead to prudent breaks scheduling.
Smart glasses providing information on-site can raise efficiency, improve safety, and provide new means for live education where theory and practice perfectly complement each other.
Cutting down on documentation sharing keeps employees more on task and does not take up the time of managers or coworkers.
Unsafe work practices cause problems in all business areas. A workplace accident that damages valuable machinery can waste enormous amounts of time and money caused by downtime and repair costs.
If an employee suffers physically from the accident, that cost can triple and also damage work reputation and company culture. Preventing accidents from happening in the first place saves time and money due to downtime, physical damages, and workers’ compensation.
It’s shocking to know that injuries and accidents that occur in the workplace cost U.S. employers almost $60 billion in 2014. These costs include the lost time of the injured employee and the employees that must stop to assist the injured person.
Management then must investigate the cause of the incident and repair the equipment or clean up a spill.
The costs associated with unhealthy office workers can also be high. Sedentary workers face higher risks of muscular or skeletal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, and other health concerns.
Their cognitive abilities crumble from lack of sleep. Wearable devices are somewhat new to us, and we don’t know whether the new faster wireless networks will have some negative effects on our health.
However, wearable technology like wireless headphones or fitness trackers at least can make office workers get up and move more often which can help both their productivity and their long-term health.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of wearable technology are many and they should be clear to any employer. The cost of getting these solutions up and running is a fraction of losses incurred from preventable workplace accidents. Leveraging wearable technology could have major effects on a business’s bottom line. Increases in efficiency, worker safety and satisfaction, and avoidance of large costs can ensure profitability for years to come.