Will wearables revolutionize the workplace?

For quite some time, wearables have been the talk of the town. But are the new connected devices game-changers for our ways of working?

From sleep and diet to daily management of phone calls, texts and calendars, wearables are unquestionably starting to show influence on our everyday lives. Wearables make multitasking easier, people reachable and companies data-rich.

The fact that enterprises have started to take note of the potential that lies in the adoption of wearables is unquestionable. A new study by Salesforce research, based on a total sample of 1,455 full-time business professionals, has shown that as much as 79% of business professionals agree that wearables are or will be strategic to their company’s future success and 76% of those who use wearable technology already, report improvement in business performance since implementing these devices.

Employee use of wearables is still limited - the potential is not

The Salesforce research states that companies still are in the infant phases when it comes to adoption of wearable technologies, currently focusing on basic use cases such as workplace security access (23% currently using), employee time management (20% currently using), and real-time employee communication (20% currently using). However, using wearables for basic work activities is just the tip of the iceberg. Wearables hold the full potential to improve workplace safety, collaboration but also support data collection in different physical work environments.

From a HR perspective, wearables can be used to detect when different employees feel most stressed and for which reasons. On the other hand, a facility manager can use these devices to detect in which parts of the facilities the employees spent most of their time, how they spent their time and how the experience can be improved and optimized for the better.

The hands-free nature of wearable devices can also create a positive impact in other industries. Take for example a taxi driver, or a surgeon performing surgery. There is no doubt that when possessing these job functions, being able to communicate and even be managed by others with as little interference as possible can have incredible impacts for both the safety and overall efficiency.

Will wearables represent a workplace revolution?

There is no doubt that there are many benefits of using wearables across many different industries. However, as a facility provider there are also barriers to overcome. These are among others BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies and rules, technology costs, security and the individual privacy of employees.

In today’s digital world, we hear about data breaches almost every day. Therefore one of the main challenges for FM and corporate IT providers, in the context of wearables, will be to develop robust security solutions for the future office.

From an office management perspective, companies also need to carefully consider the impact wearables have on the well-being and comfort of employees. Today’s workplaces represent a large variety of generations with many different preferences for how their workplace should appear. While some parts of the workforce may desire these sophisticated devices to complete their work, others may perceive these tools as intrusive surveillance tools. Therefore, it will be crucial that the FM provider has the ability to differentiate office amenities depending on the context and the individual needs across the employee generations.

Without any doubt, wearables bring something unique to the table. Whether or not these devices will revolutionize our ways of working will depend on our ability to integrate them as a meaningful tool in our everyday work life - in a way that does not cross any personal boundaries but rather optimizes our overall work experiences.  

To learn more about the workplaces of the future, please download our Whitebook: New Ways or Working - The workplace of future.

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