As businesses that were closed for some time plan to return to work, they are faced with the challenge of determining how best to create a safe work environment for employees. In order to enforce social distancing requirements and ensure that employees maintain a safe distance from one another in the workplace, employers are turning to wearable technology as an answer.
Wearable devices come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own look and feel. For the most part though, in terms of social distancing and contact tracing, they all operate in similar manner. Utilizing a radio (Bluetooth or Wi-Fi), the device broadcasts a unique ID so it can be found by other devices that are scanning the area for devices in proximity. If a device is found to be in close proximity, the device alerts the wearer through some sort of user feedback, indicating they are too close to one another. This data is often available to employer and employees alike through an online portal, providing information that can help employees consider how to adjust their behavior.
One example of wearable technology, our Modjoul wearable, is a clip-on the size of a pager or beeper. Attach it to your belt, shirt pocket or even a lanyard and you are ready to go. It handles social distancing by vibrating and flashing a light when two or more employees are within approximately 6 feet of one another. Contact tracing data is available via a web portal and mobile application that allows employees and employers to view their respective information with a few taps of a button.
With so many options existing today, and knowing that they're will be many more to hit the market over the next few months, how does an organization choose the wearable that works for them? To start, there are some common things to consider:
- Ease of use for the employee and employer - after all, wearables are supposed to help make things easier, not more difficult
- Battery life - the devices need to last at least one whole day
- Flexibility - How flexible are the devices and the wearable platform to fit all use cases within the organization or location
Unfortunately, the answer gets a bit more complex, as it also depends on the wants and needs of the organization. For example, a manufacturer that has their workforce working on a lot of machinery with their hands, might not be able to use wrist wearables because of the risk of the device getting caught in the machine.
One emerging question Modjoul is seeing more of, is "what else can your wearable technology do?". When we break it down, it’s a very thoughtful question. In somewhat of a promising way, the organizations looking into wearables for contact tracing and social distancing are thinking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and thinking about the alternate benefits of wearable technology. Pre COVID, industrial wearables were in the marketplace for safety and productivity. These are both great additional use cases that can have positive quantitative and qualitative effects on your business and your workforce.
Determining if wearables are right for your organization is entirely up to you. As more companies trial and adopt wearable technology, the technology continues to evolve with the use cases and business needs. Wearables can be a great tool to provide real-time alerts and data to employees and employers. Whether for social distancing, contact tracing, and/or safety insights, find the wearable that offers the solutions that you need now, but is flexible enough to grow with your business in the future.
This blog expresses the personal opinion of its writer and is not intended to provide or be used for the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19.