WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKPLACE

Posted on: September 10th, 2018

Employment Solicitor, Charlotte Allery, explained the legal position, including the pros and cons, of using wearable technology in the workplace to Computing. We provide a snippet here.

The uptake of wearable technology by consumers has been vast. From basic Bluetooth headsets, to fitness bands to monitor heart rates and measure distances, and smartwatches to manage bank accounts and make payments – personal wearable technology is old news. As tech start ups and savvy employers are realising, the future for wearables is in the workplace.

Although the idea of digital accessories at work is not completely revolutionary (vehicle trackers have been around for years, for example), the technology and risks involved are evolving. The future plans of some employers have caused shockwaves amongst commentators.

Earlier this year, Amazon was issued with two patents in the US for a wristband system to monitor warehouse workers’ performance. Put simply, the technology would mean that workers’ wristbands will ‘buzz’ if a worker places a product near or in the wrong ‘inventory bin’.

Amazon’s plans follow last year’s news that Three Square Market, a US based tech company, have microchipped 50 consenting staff. Although the chips do not have GPS capabilities, they allow employees to log into work, open doors, and buy food and drink at work.

Whilst microchipping staff is a Marmite idea and a fairly new concept, the convenience it creates may mean that the idea is adopted by more than just trailblazing tech businesses.

So, what are the benefits of wearable workplace technology?

  • Wellbeing
  • Tracking and increasing productivity
  • Safety

But are there potential pitfalls?

  • Privacy concerns
  • Cost
  • Discrimination issues
  • Employee morale and workplace culture

You can read the full article, with a detailed examination of the benefits and pitfalls of wearable technology, on Computing here.

If you have any queries regarding the introduction of wearable technology in your business, please contact the Tech Sector.