Wearable Usage on the Rise in the Workplace

These days, it might seem like everyone, both inside and outside of the gym, is sporting a Fitbit or a similar wearable fitness device. Indeed, a recent study shows that more than 38 million Fitbits have been sold since 2010, with other data showing more than 23 million active users as of early 2017. One place where utilization of the devices is decidedly on the rise: the workplace. As mHealth Intelligence first reported, workplace wellness programs have been increasingly taking advantage of wearable devices, both to encourage employees to develop healthy habits and to gather data for their own future use in program development.

Research from the firm Springbuk found that 35 percent of employers surveyed are currently using wearables in their corporate wellness programs. What’s more, an additional 48.6 percent of companies are considering purchasing the devices for use in the workplace within the next year. Said Springbuk CEO Rod Reasen, “We’re seeing more employers turn to wearables not only to provide participation and engagement data, but increasingly to help move the needle on effectiveness of wellness programs in lowering health risk and improving health outcomes.” (Wearable devices are also, of course, seen as having potential in the fight against chronic disease; as we noted earlier this week, providers see them as potentially useful tools when working with patients seeking to manage or prevent costly chronic conditions.)

What goes into decisions about which wearables to use with employees? Respondents cited device usability as their top priority, with price also being key. Also important: connectivity, battery capacity, and data “dashboards” that employers can study. As part of a related study Springbuk conducted, a panel of experts tested and rated a variety of popular devices, with Fitbit devices receiving the highest marks overall. Ultimately, companies can rely on the data they gather to improve the quality (and cost-effectiveness) of the programs they provide to promote employee wellness. As Springbuk CEO Reasen put it, “The data provided by wearables can also create actionable insights about how to invest your wellness dollars next year.”

Click here for the article from mHealth Intelligence on wearables in corporate wellness programs.

Click here for the press release from BusinessWire on the Springbuk study.

Click here to download the full report from Springbuk (free, but requires account).

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