February 9, 2017
What They Said
Upright partnered with Ernst & Young Israel to study the link between posture and productivity. The study used Upright’s adhesive posture monitoring wearable that incorporates haptic feedback to improve posture and alleviate lower back pain. After a few weeks using Upright’s device, 75% of the 31 Ernst & Young employees in the study experienced improved posture and decreased back pain. Over half of the participants felt more alert and productive at work due to their improved posture. Additionally, 85% of participants became more aware of their posture and 71% of participants felt more confident when they had good posture. Employees were surveyed about the effects of using Upright on back pain, productivity, and posture throughout the survey. To improve posture, the employees trained two to four times a week for six weeks starting out with just five minutes a day. They used Upright while sitting at their desk, eating lunch, or attending a meeting.
What We Think
Upright has performed other case studies with SAP Software Solutions and Siemens. In all cases, these companies have a large percentage of their workforce that sits in front of computers for a majority of the day and while these results are promising, the solutions are generally not adopted long-term. This adoption problem is not unique to Upright and plagues most wearable devices. One way to achieve sustained adoption may require offering virtual rewards or introducing a gamification.
Preventative and proactive approaches to workplace safety can come in different form factors (see the report “A Sensor a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: How Digital Technology is Keeping Workers Safe”). Employers continue to look to improve on traditional safety protocols, and some have already started to realize the potential of digital solutions, but many are hesitant to buy in due to the implementation cost, worker privacy concerns, and complexity of integration with existing processes. As clinicians and doctors continue to see some benefit to wearables, adoption and retention will continue to increase. The average direct cost of a back injury stands at $45,000, and indirect costs associated with loss of productivity, injury investigation, and training of new workers, for example, can amount to $90,000. So as companies become accustomed to wearables in the workplace, look at greater adoption of posture sensors, especially as companies see the added benefits of productivity gains.
Thomas Dawidczyk is an Analyst that leads the Wearables Intelligence service at Lux Research. Lux Research provides strategic advice and ongoing intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on Lux to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through their unique research approach focused on primary research and their extensive global network, they deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to their clients.