BYOD and Wearables – How Employers Can Turn Employees’ Wearables Into Assets

The use of wearables at work is becoming increasingly prevalent. In fact, a recent report found that 44 percent of U.S. workers use their own wearable technology at work, and that number is as high as 75 percent in markets such as Brazil and Russia. Some industry analysts project that smart watches and health and fitness wearables like Fitbit will gain further traction in the workplace.

There are some parallels between the growing use of personal wearables at work, with the “Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD, movement, a topic that has spurred significant debate over the last few years.

With BYOD, employees use their personal laptops, tablets and phones to do their job, a strategy that can generate significant IT cost savings, yet brings with it other challenges around security and stability, as CIO magazine reported.

For wearables and work technology alike, the benefits of BYOD can be significant. Among the pros: Employees use technologies they prefer and are already comfortable with, potentially saving time, money, and frustration. For employers, BYOD can boost innovation and productivity, improve employee health, and reduce healthcare costs.

Yet, wearable technology — even non-wearables such as phones, tablets and laptops — have been tricky for employers to manage.

The Trifecta of Challenges Facing Employers

The BYOD movement presents three major challenges for employers:

  • How to measure engagement with a variety of devices and track performance across different wearable technologies.
  • How to reward usage with many different types of devices, including with financial incentives.
  • How to manage distribution of new devices to employees who currently don’t own one.

To overcome these challenges, some employers have begun to embrace a solution in which they synchronize all the devices their employees use – Fitbit, Jawbone, Apple Watches, etc. – into one universal health benefits platform.

An enterprise health benefits platform provides a device-agnostic solution. One universal platform can integrate seamlessly with employees’ favorite devices, collect the “digital exhaust” – the important data about usage and habits – and provide financial incentives for successful participation.

An enterprise health benefits platform can also link to a virtual marketplace where employees can use company subsidies towards the purchase of their own wearable devices.

This technology provides a solution to all the BYOD problems, making it easier than ever to administer and manage employees’ wearable habits.

As wearables continue to grow in popularity, their presence in the workplace is a near-guarantee. Platform technologies are critical to unlocking their potential.

Check out our latest slideshare presentation on the “Game Design Principles” that can improve engagement. And for more information or guides on employee health benefits programs, visit JIff’s Resources page.