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Wearable tech: Employees fear bosses will use data against them

Posted on from Changeboard

Look down at your wrist. There's a good chance you're one of 3 million UK workers that bought a piece of wearable technology in 2015. But would you wear it if your employer had access to your data?

The use of wearable of technology in the workplace is being stalled by a lack of employee trust in their bosses.

According to research by PwC, employees worry that the data recorded by the technology could be used against them rather than for their benefit.

It is estimated that 3 million people in the UK bought a wearable device in 2015, an 118% increase on the previous year. In a survey of over 2,000 people, PwC found that almost two thirds (65%) of respondents want their company to take an active role in their health and wellbeing, but only 46% of people would wear a free piece of technology if it was offered by their employer.

Antony Bruce, analytics leader at PwC said: “Despite more people owning wearable devices, many people are still reluctant to use them in the workplace due to trust issues. Employers haven’t been able to overcome the ‘big brother’ reaction from people to sharing their personal data.”

Even when asked if they would allow the collation of data in exchange for benefits such as flexible hours, the number of positive respondents only rose to 56%.

Four in ten say they don’t fully trust their employer to use their data for their benefit, with 47% saying they do not trust their employer not to use their data against them. 

Bruce commented: “Digital tools and analytics advances could be the key to unlocking a more engaged, happy and higher performing workforce – but first employers must gain the trust and confidence of their people to acquire, store and use personal data appropriately. If employers want to overcome the trust gap they need to show that they are serious about data security.”

The younger generation of the UK workforce were more comfortable sharing their personal data. 59% would be happy to use a work-supplied smartwatch, rising to seven in ten in return for better benefits.

Bruce added: “Younger workers are much more willing to trade their personal data in return for workplace benefits. Given the war for talent, organisations should be thinking about how attractive their benefits and workplace technology is to this next generation of workers.”


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