Want employees to use wearables? Pay for them
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Want employees to use wearables? Pay for them

January 14, 2015

Source: m Health News

Looking for some way to convince consumers to track their health and wellness? So is everybody else. A new survey, though, finds that the workplace might be the best realm to foster consumer engagement – if the boss is willing to help.

The survey, compiled by Cornerstone OnDemand, found that eight out of every 10 full-time employees would use a company-provided wearable device to track their health and wellness data. And more than half would do so in exchange for a little boost in their year-end bonus or a reduced health insurance premium.

The results were part of Cornerstone OnDemand’s 2014 The State of Workplace Productivity Report, conducted between Aug. 21 and Sept. 8, 2014 and involving some 2,009 full-time U.S. employees. Health and wellness questions were just one part of the report, which showed high employee interest in flexible work schedules, methods to restrict workplace distractions and using wearables to get work done.

The upshot of the survey is that the more comfortable the employee, the better he or she produces. That could also lead to a healthier employee (both physically and mentally), translating to fewer work days missed and a reduction in healthcare costs and health insurance premiums.

Unfortunately, it seems that more and more employees are in need of help. The 2014 survey saw a 14 percent jump in one year in employees who said they were suffering from work overload (68 percent), an indicator of workplace stress that can lead to health and wellness issues.

With regard to what’s being called “the quantified employee,” the survey found that 67 percent would use a company-supplied wearable to track health and fitness data in exchange for an extra 5 percent in their end-of-year bonus, while 57 percent would do it for a reduced health insurance premium and 36 percent would do it in exchange for a discount to an exercise program.

“We now live in a world where physical presence is optional, lines between work and life are increasingly blurred by technology, and flex schedules are viewed by employees as a right, not a perk,” Adam Miller, founder and CEO of Cornerstone OnDemand, said in a press release. “Employers who empower their people to get their work done in the best ways possible, whether it is through policies, resources or workplace culture, are best positioned to attract and retain top talent. Fortunately, cloud and mobile tech is making it easier to intertwine physical and virtual workspaces in ways that still encourage collaboration and connectivity.”

The survey also called into question whether management understands the pressure being placed on the employee.

“Workers say they are feeling overloaded and unproductive, but the bigger question is whether their employers know they’re feeling this way,” Miller said in the release. “The survey results emphasize how critical it is for organizations to have a better pulse on their workforce, whether it is gaining the right insight, having the right conversations or enabling the right levels of transparency. The ability to help employees tackle productivity roadblocks and thrive in their roles not only helps businesses to stay competitive but also can increase employee engagement and loyalty.”

Whether businesses will pick up the tab for wearables remains to be seen, though several studies have found strong support for mHealth among self-insured companies and health plans.

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