Future of Work HR Remix

My Fitbit. Your Office. Why You Should Care.

Wearable Technology
Don’t Be A Glasshole


For the past few months I’ve been using a FitBit, to help me reach my daily fitness goals  (10,0000 steps a day). I’d like to say that I hit that goal everyday but that’s not true. More often than not, my Fitbit gently reminds me that I did not reach daily goal but I keep using the FitBit because it keeps fitness on my mind.Its a helpful reminder.


But why should HR care about a Fitbit? The obvious answer is your company wellness program but I’m more interested in how this and other wearable technology will affect the workplace. The Fitbit is just one example of wearable technology that employees are already bringing to work. Others include Google Glass, smart contact lenses (think FitBit for the eyes) and even 3D printed nails

Wearable tech definitely isn’t as common as the smart phone but now is the time to start paying attention.

Why HR Should Care About Wearable Technology:

1. Privacy – Glasses that can take a picture with a vocal command. Monitors that construct an EKG and send it to your doctor. Who owns that data when the company owns the smartphone? To ensure you don’t see personal health information do you block fitness and health apps? Do you ban Google Glass at work?

2. Making work better – How can HR utilize this technology to provide a better work environment? More efficiency? Imagine if you could go to a job fair, take a picture of an applicant and have Google Glass pull up their LinkedIn profile. Some might find it intrusive, others scary but it’s also pretty awesome!

3. Some insurance companies offer a discount to drivers who will agree to have their driving monitored. Would you offer a health insurance discount to employees who agreed to have their physical activity monitored? 25% off health insurance premiums if you hit 10,000 steps a day!

Just a few years ago we questioned the implications of social media at work (and before that we had questions about email). Then smartphones came along and it became apparent people didn’t need company technology to access grumpy cat memes. Wearable tech still has some growing pains but it is coming to a workplace near you, if it hasn’t already!

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1 comment

Allison February 25, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I strongly disagree with #3. Not because I’m against exercise, but because a good way to breed resentment among your employees is to stick your nose in their personal lives, which includes their diets and fitness activity. Allow for physical activity by allowing people to go for walks during the workday, but a financial incentive to walk a certain number of steps per day is taking it too far. Not to mention it’s ableist – not everyone can walk 10,000 steps a day; and a little classist – not everyone can afford wearable technology to monitor their steps, so even if they were willing and able to log 10,000 steps a day, they might not have access to the gear to do so.

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