Wearable technology could increase employee productivity

By on May 5, 2014

Google Glass-wearers may be getting mugged, but a new study has shown wearable tech could make people work more efficiently.

Wearable tech has been hitting headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, largely because Google Glass-wearers keep getting the R15 000 gadgets mugged from off their noses.

However, the technology might actually have a future outside of museums. New research shows wearing devices, including brain activity sensors, motion monitors, and posture coaches, at work boosts productivity by 8.5 percent.

Job satisfaction also increased by 3.5 percent – small but not necessarily to be sniffed at, according to the study carried out by Dr Chris Brauer at Goldsmiths’ Institute of Management Studies with cloud providers Rackspace.

British companies aren’t adverse to trying it out for themselves in the workplace, with 29 percent already using some form of wearable tech. However, they’re far slower to try it out than their American counterparts, 63 percent of whom are giving the gadgets a go.

For unhappy workers the good news is the biggest reason for using wearable tech is employee wellbeing, cited by 16 percent of companies. That rationale is closely followed by accessing information, identified by 15 percent, and customer service, highlighted by 14 percent, though. Don’t expect full body massage suits at work any time soon.

Wearable tech is a potentially huge market. Consultants Futuresource estimated its global value at R80 billion last year and forecast it’ll grow to R200 billion by 2017. Given fitness devices made up an estimated 97 percent of the market in 2013, that’s a lot of space for new gadgets to grow – if they aren’t stymied by making people look stupid/getting them mugged.

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