There is a growing body of research indicating benefits for companies that provide wearable heart rate biosensors for their employees. These benefits include (1) the ability to improve their response to occupational stress, (2) reduced risk of injury, and (3) reduced healthcare costs.
1. Improved Response To Occupational Stress
- Research by the American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that wearable biosensors can help employers monitor their employees’ stress levels in a non-intrusive way. In the report, researchers used wearable biosensors to predict stress levels (low or high) among construction workers with an accuracy of 84.48%.
- Preliminary research indicates that wearable biosensors (including those that detect heart rate variability) can help employers continuously monitor their employees’ stress levels while avoiding costly interruptions to work-flow.
- According to further research from Hanze University of Applied Sciences, occupational stress can “cause health problems, productivity loss, or absenteeism.” By monitoring stress levels through wearable heart rate biosensors, employers can provide “automated resilience intervention that gives personalized, just-in-time feedback.”
2. Reduce The Risk Of Injury
- Research done with both construction and occupational health workers indicates that wearable biosensors can reduce the number of workplace injuries.
- The American Society of Safety Professionals released a report indicating that heart-rate-measuring wristbands are an effective way to measure work fatigue. The report’s head researcher, Dr. Lora Cavuoto, named fatigue “the hidden danger of the workplace.” She and her colleagues call for using wristbands to monitor fatigue as a first step in building a framework for responding to dangerous levels of workplace fatigue.
- The National Safety Council estimated that in 2018 companies lost 170 billion dollars due to preventable injuries. Major companies like IBM, John Deere, and National Grid have begun giving their employees wearable biosensors to measure heart rate and other physiological data to reduce workplace injuries.
3. Reduce Healthcare Cost
- Companies like SAP, BP, Time Warner, IBM, Barclay’s, Target, and Bank of America have begun experimenting with providing their employees wearable biosensors as part of their corporate wellness programs. They hope that these wearable biosensors will provide an incentive for employees to stay on track with their health goals and thus reduce the cost of sick days and insurance expenses.
- According to FastCompany: “morbidly obese employees cost their companies, on average, more than twice as much in health care and related costs as normal-weight ones do.” Thus, companies hope that by providing wearable biosensors to track health data they can encourage employees to lose weight, stay healthy, and thus reduce insurance costs.
- The Harvard Business Review reported that among Carewise users (a corporate wellness program that makes use of FitBit sensors): “health care costs of highly engaged participants rise just 0.7% annually, compared with 24% for less engaged participants.”
- Appiro, a cloud-services start-up, began purchasing FitBit trackers for their employers. They used the data to convince their insurance provider to reduce their health care bill by 6% (and saved over $200,000).