While fitness trackers might be the best-known examples, modern wearables range from clothing to jewelry to smart tattoos — and the technology continues to improve. The upcoming generation will expand into the augmented and virtual reality space, with promising applications for many industries, including healthcare.
Data Sharing And Well-Being Goals
Given the wealth of health data they can provide, wearables have the potential to unlock a new world of insights supporting employee wellness and positive long-term health changes. Individuals are also becoming increasingly comfortable sharing personal data for wellness purposes, especially when incentives are included.
According to a global insurance study from Accenture, almost 70% of consumers would share data on their health and exercise habits in exchange for lower prices from their insurers. While it’s no surprise incentives drive participation, pairing incentives with a wearable technology program could be a viable strategy to spark healthier habits — ones that may lead to lower costs for your organization.
If you're considering a wearable technology program, start by outlining your most important well-being goals. Are you looking to help employees move more each day? Do you want them to reduce stress to be more productive? Would a wearables program help provide safety at work? Based on your answers, you can begin to craft the right initiatives for your workforce.
How To Drive Employee Wellness Program Participation
After you’ve decided on your goals, learn about the wearables best suited for your employees. You might decide to let them track activities on a device they already own. Or, if your company is providing the wearable device, choose one that encourages inclusive participation. For instance, if your well-being program is based on exercise, select a device that tracks movements like bike riding, weight training, or swimming as opposed to only steps or mileage. This not only accounts for physical limitations, but it also allows employees to do activities they can access and enjoy.
Spend a bit of time thinking about the structure of your initiatives, too. If your well-being strategy includes a workplace challenge, would your employees be more motivated to participate in teams, or as individuals? If you’re including incentives, what types of prizes would speak to your workforce?
Be mindful of supporting your goals in the day-to-day workplace as well, especially in the era of remote working. If employees are trying to meet a movement goal, suggest walking meetings or provide links to online fitness classes. If you're encouraging better sleep habits, institute a rule against sending work emails after a certain time of day.
Employee Communications And Access To Support
It's important to communicate clearly with your employees about how they can participate in any wearable technology initiatives. Explain what personal data will be collected, how it will be used, how you'll protect their privacy, and any specifics about incentives and prizes.
If your organization uses a health app like SydneySM Health, you can leverage more than 20 included workplace challenges to encourage employee participation. Sydney links with technology like Fitbit®, Garmin®, iHealth®, Misfit, and Apple® HealthKit®, so employees can easily stay connected to their personal health data.
Wearables are just one way to support employees' overall health, but one with far-reaching implications. By connecting your workforce to health and wellness programs and the benefits of wearable technology, you can help them create healthier habits. You’ll foster greater accountability for personal well-being, promote employee satisfaction, and potentially reduce costs for your organization.
Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with CareMarket, Inc., a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of Empire Blue Cross©2021-2022.