Image source: Max Pixel

More than a third of employers use wearables in their wellness program

Springbuk, an health intelligence platform, released a survey showing that 35% of employers use wearable devices in their wellness programs, a 10% increase from 2015 findings. The results came from a four-month field test that reviewed 21 devices.

It is clear that employers are showing growing interest in fitness trackers and smartwatches, and many organizations are using them to make their staff healthier. The  Employer’s Guide to Wearables 2.0 showed that nearly half (48.6%) of the 8,000 employers surveyed are considering purchasing such devices for their staff during the next 12 months.

Researchers scored the devices on a 5-level scale in ten categories. Fitbit trackers secured the highest overall rating with five of its trackers averaging a score of 85.6 out of 100. Samsung was in second place securing a rating of 80.3, across three of its devices tested.

In terms of individual wearables, Fitbit Blaze achieved the highest rating (94/100), ahead of the Jack of All Trades Garmin Vivoactive HR (89/100), Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Surge (86/100), Samsung Gear S3 and Garmin Vivosmart HR (85/100) and Samsung Gear S2 (83/100).

Essential reading: Big Brother fears as companies fit their staff with wearables

Field testers ranked ability of the wearable devices tested to “sync with a wellness vendor” high on the list of priority features. Other top-ranked features include “long battery life” and “employer-facing dashboard”.

“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,” said Rod Reasen, CEO of Springbuk.

“The data provided by wearables can also create actionable insights about how to invest your wellness dollars next year.”

Privacy campaigners have, however, expressed worry on news that companies are fitting thousands of their staff with wearables that monitor movements and communication patterns, sometimes for 24 hours a day. A recent PWC research report shows that use of wearables in the workplace continues to be hampered by lack of trust.

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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