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Can I implement wearable health trackers for workers?

One hot new employment trend is wearable health technology that can promote wellness in the workforce. Companies want healthy employees, who definitely have a vested interest in their own well-being. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?

Before jumping aboard the wearable bandwagon, learn more about the legal limitations involved with this type of technology.

The "Big Brother" factor

Employers need to consider their workers' feelings about being "tracked" at work. Depending upon the nature of your small business, you likely already have several ways to track your employees locations and productivity. Company cellphones have GPS systems that can alert business owners to their employees' locations when it's necessary to find them in the field, as can the GPS systems in company vehicles.

Computers can be fitted with keystroke logging systems to alert employers to workers' visits to objectionable websites or nonproductive online distractions like Facebook or Candy Crush Saga.

With this in mind, will employees welcome or resent further attempts to monitor them, even under the guise of health and wellness? Many might find wearables to be another intrusive monitoring attempt by management.

Participation must be voluntary

The way to dodge that bullet is to make wearable technology voluntary. That means that those workers who are resistant to using these devices won't lose their jobs, benefits or be otherwise retaliated against for noncompliance.

It may be helpful to stress to your workforce that only third-party employee benefits managers will be able to access and manage personal health information that is collected from the wearable devices. Onsite managers and owners won't be able to access private data of their workers.

Employees may be swayed in favor of using wearables if they are assured that their data will be safe and protected and that the company remains compliant with all applicable laws.

Source: Travelers.com, "Wearables Can Help Keep Your Small Business Employees Healthy," accessed March 30, 2018

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