18 Apr 2013

Develop Your Own Workplace Athletes!

Hi folks,

As you regulars will know, I keep bringing you blogs on the highlights of 2013's top workplace health conferences & this weeks focuses on mobile technology.

Walking around the exhibitions I came across 4 -5 stands trying to sell me little gizmo's & gadgets that track my body throughout the day (& night in some cases). The most simple & common being pedometers, but two others caught my eye.

1) A heart rate monitor to be worn 24hrs per day over a typical 3 days & the user has to keep a diary for this period. The info is then uploaded to some software where you can see if any rises in heart rate coincide with any non-physical activities = stress.

2) This looked like small pedometer that sticks on to your skin & is worn under clothing. It uses very low electrical activity to recognise how much tension is in the muscle underneath. Some muscle tension is natural but as many of us will know, physical & mental stress can cause counter-productive amount of muscle tension.

It may be interesting to ask a company CEO or director to wear one or even both of these gadgets so they can get a personal insight in to the impact of their position. However as the HSE is now taking a wider approach to stress management, it wouldn't be practical to 'hook up' every employee & monitor them. HR managers could ask for a cross-section of volunteers but results may not represent the whole workforce as stress levels depend upon stress tolerance which is very individual to each person (even when doing the same job).

It's fantastic that this technology is available & is very interesting for personal use but is not a realistic solution for workforce health & wellbeing. A company's time & money will get a better ROI if spent on the softer measures such as nutrition & exercise incentives.

Let me know your thoughts & how these gadgets may 'go down' in your workplace.


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