miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2015

Fitness trackers in the workingplace

There is not one day you can live without discovering the importance of a new business niche based on technology. Beyond the more classic and well known electronic versions of economic activities (such e-banking or e-commerce) or the digitalisation of daily use products (e.g. ebooks), disruptive business models are changing the underpinning of our society. The tip of the iceberg of this disruptive models are the so called sharing economy services.

One of the main objective of this disruptions is the labour model in its wholeness. Digitalisation is accelerating the change of the framework relationship between employer and employee. Not only there are arising new employment models enabling by technology, like zero hours contract or service vouchers agencies, the more classic form of employer has new tools to increase productivity of the employers. Do not think only in tools for making easier the daily working routine. There are evidences of the benefits for a company productivity of healthy employers and now they are beginning to have the right tools to control the activity levels of the workers and incentivise it.

We usually think in the health apps and devices as personal use items, nevertheless there is market for "corporate wellness" outside and these items are the enabling tool for it. "Corporate wellness" is nothing new, but until now the success of employee-based wellness programs was difficult to ensure due to the lack of tools for measuring its implementation. This demand looks to be on the path to be satisfied by the fitness trackers

However, there are pros and cons on this usage of fitbit and other devices as corporate welness enablers. An easier implementation of gamification techniques in wellness programs based on these devices is the main appeal for its usage in a corporate environment. But the risk for privacy are obvious and the the need to allow some choice of the device will drive us to face challenges similar to the implementation of BYOD policies.

Anyway, the business niche has been identified. Corporate fitness is a growing trend that is gaining space even in all kind of media. In a recent report from the BBC, the channel includes some prediction for this market from Gartner:

  • In 2013, about 2,000 companies offered their employees fitness trackers, according to technology research company Gartner. 
  • In 2014, this rose to around 10,000. By 2016, the firm predicts that most large companies - those with more than 500 employees - in both the US and Western Europe will offer fitness trackers with their programmes.

There is not possible benefit without facing a risk. Certainly, fitness trackers in the corporate environment could arise 1984 nightmares in our imagination, however the value of the benefits are so high to despise them. More than 80 bn cost per year due to inactivity deserves some thinking in well balanced policies to reap this benefits.

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