At first glance, companies using wearables, such as Fitbits, as a way of encouraging health and wellness among employees may seem like a great idea. Healthier workers are typically happier workers, and wearables can enable businesses to offer extra incentives to people who walk a certain number of steps, for example. It can be a win-win for employee and employer, with the former improving their fitness and the latter gaining a healthier, more productive employee.
However, any company considering implementing a wellness program that includes the use of wearable trackers should think through the many potential complications. For one thing, it introduces privacy issues since users may have misgivings about sharing personal data and information. Another possible pitfall is that employees who don’t wish to be a part of the program, or who try it but don’t succeed in improving their fitness level, may feel stigmatized and worry that their managers will view them as lazy or less effective workers.
Not to mention, how will that data be collected, collated and interpreted? Will diagnoses be delivered via text without any review by an employee’s physician?
The added value of additional data isn’t guaranteed if that data isn’t properly collected and normalized, and shared with the necessary professionals to ensure that there’s meaning within the numbers and not just noise.
The fact is, there’s a lot to be optimistic about, but leveraging the usefulness of wearables will require a comprehensive strategy and coordinated efforts from employers, data and analytics companies, healthcare professionals and employee/patients.
A new article by Dave Howell, featured in Croner-i, discusses how some facility managers are interested in increasing employee wellbeing with programs that incorporate the use of wearables. The article looks at ways that they can overcome some of the above-mentioned challenges. Read it here.
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.