Smarter, happier, healthier workforces

10 April 2015

by Anthony Bruce Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Leader

With excitement mounting over the arrival in stores of the Apple Watch I’m not busy thinking about which style I’m going to buy (well maybe a little), but rather how Smartwatches and other wearable technology devices have the potential to benefit organisations and their workforces.

We conducted some research recently which showed that four in ten people would use a piece of wearable technology provided by their employer even if it means giving them access to the personal data collected via the device.  The take up rises to over half (56%) if the information collected is used by employers to improve things such as working hours, stress levels and where they can work from.

Some workers still have an understandable “big brother” reaction to sharing any of their personal data with their employers, but our research shows that the majority of people can be persuaded if they can see clear personal or workplace benefits.

For organisations with a younger workforce, the opportunities seem greater as only two in ten millennial workers told us they wouldn’t be willing to share data from a wearable device in exchange for work benefits.  And if the data is anonymised and shared at an aggregate level, rather than being personalised, the willingness was greater still.

So the technology exists and the appetite is there amongst groups of employees, which means we need to think creatively about how leaders of organisations can leverage wearables.  Can the data available help us to keep our workforces happy, can it identify health risks, can it make our organisations more efficient or more productive?

Providing employees with wearable devices could be a novel way for organisations to get a better understanding of their workforce, but they could also be a powerful tool to affect working patterns, benefits packages, resource planning and much more.

The key to success for both organisations and their employees will be getting the deal spot on and overcoming the trust barriers by setting clear rules about how the data is acquired, used and shared.

If you would like to discuss these issues, or the impact of emerging technology or data and analytics on your industry, then contact our Data & Analytics team.

by Anthony Bruce Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Leader