And finally…Half of Scots would wear workplace smartwatch, says PwC

Apple Watch
Taking the Mick?

As nation awaits the latest Apple gadget with eager tech-heads already placing their pre-sale orders, new research from PwC in Scotland has shown that almost half of Scots workers would consider wearing a smartwatch from their employer if their data was used to improve things such as working hours, stress levels and where they can work from.

The analysis shows that four in 10 Scots (39 per cent / UK – 44 per cent) would use wearable technology from their employer, with this number rising to almost half (48 per cent) if people know the information will be used to improve their wellbeing at work.

Flexible working hours, free health screening and health and fitness incentives are the benefits people are most willing to share their personal data for.

Gwyneth Scholefield, human resource services director, PwC in Scotland, said: “Employers looking for genuine opportunities to manage and motivate people can now gather data through a range of different tools and technology. Giving employees wearable devices, for example, could be an innovative and powerful way for organisations to better understand their workforce and tailor working patterns, benefits and office life to their individual needs.

“The challenge for employers, however, is not only to generate real insights from this data but to ensure they keep that it secure and manage it responsibly. For those who do this well, the outcome could be more engaged, happy and higher performing employees.”

The report reveals that trust is the main barrier to people being willing to share their personal data with their employer.

For those people who opted for none of the benefits on offer in exchange for their data, one in three (35 per cent / UK – 41 per cent) said that not only do they not trust their employer not to use the data against them in some way but they also don’t trust their employer to use the data for their benefit.

Gwyneth Scholefield added:  “While many workers remain suspicious about giving their employers access to their personal data, this can be overcome. Our research shows that most people can be persuaded if they can see clear personal or workplace benefits, and if the data is anonymised and shared at an aggregate level, rather than being personalised.

“How employers communicate what they are doing with their staff and the benefits they can offer is key to helping to fill the trust gap. Setting clear rules about how the data is acquired, used and shared is just as vital in ensuring they have the trust of their people.”

PwC also found that the younger generation of millennial workers (born between 1980 - 1995) are the most comfortable sharing their personal data from a smartwatch. Despite privacy concerns, six in 10 would be happy to use a work-supplied smartwatch and this rises to seven in 10 if they’re getting a better work deal in return.

Interestingly, Generation X workers (born between 1960 and 1980) could be persuaded to use a smartwatch, but only on condition of a better work deal. Only 38 per cent of this generation would accept a piece of wearable technology from their employer in exchange for sharing their data, but this rises to over half (51 per cent) if the data is being collected to improve work conditions. People aged over 55 are the most sceptical, with 40 per cent willing to take up this offer.