Last summer, I wrote about a Rackspace/University of London study that assessed productivity levels in 120 employees outfitted with wearable monitoring technology. The participants were equipped with one of the three devices – the GENEActiv high-velocity accelerometer wristband, which measures movement and activity; the NeuroSky Mindwave portable biosensor EEG, which monitors brain activity; and the LUMOback posture and activity coach, which issues a pulse to remind its wearer to sit up straight. Participant productivity jumped 8.5 percent and job satisfaction climbed 3.5 percent as a result of the monitoring.
Employee monitoring is increasing in popularity, and the reason goes beyond productivity gains and wider availability of Internet of things-related technology. Compliance with regulations such as the Affordable Care Act now involves understanding exactly how many hours full-time and part-time employees are working so that organizations can accurately classify them and determine benefit eligibility.
In a recent article in Harper’s Magazine, Esther Kaplan investigated the $30 billion telematics industry. Telematics is essentially hardware and software that facilitates real-time employee monitoring. Shipping conglomerate UPS, for example, uses handheld delivery information acquisition devices (DIADs) to track delivery times, speed, stop times, and seat-belt use. When a UPS driver pulls into a delivery location, scans a package, and has the customer sign for it, the DIAD records the time, location and wait and sends the data to the driver’s supervisor. Although this DIAD system was introduced to UPS employees as a safety measure, the devices have saved the company millions in productivity and efficiency gains.
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