Wellness wearables: changes in culture reflected through technology

A new breed of wearable technology suggests an attitude shift from an always-on culture towards a more mindful and caring approach to work-life balance

Tired of your smart watch constantly updating you on every email and text whilst you’re trying to relax? Well, you might not be the only one. A new generation of wellness wearables reaching the market is designed to monitor your physical and mental health without ever reminding you of that one last task you wanted to get done before you left work.

Designed to look beautiful but with no touch screen or data display, the NoWatch is a new take on wearable technology. It is designed to monitor your stress levels through indicators such as heart rate, breathing patterns and blood oxygenation levels and then offer soothing vibrations and recommendations through the associated app to help wearers manage their stress and feel more in control.

 ‘Wellbeing wearables designed to help you manage stress and feel more in control…’

This innovation suggests that the always-on mentality of smart watches that constantly keep you up to date with emails and texts, tethering you to your work, is now ending and a more mindful approach to work-life balance is being embraced. Technology which can boost your mental health and support your attempts at mindfulness throughout your busy day might be the answer for business sectors with low levels of mental health support.

Tracking wellbeing

Similar wearables, created by tech company Moodbeam, advertise themselves as a solution for staff experiencing mental health struggles whilst working from home. The Moodbeam One wristband allows employees to press two buttons, one if they are feeling well and one if they are struggling.  This enables their manager to track their wellbeing from a distance, potentially helping them to develop strategies to support employees and create interventions. These wearables are designed to help workplaces offer better support and care to their employees and prevent problems like burnout.

‘These wearables are designed to help workplaces offer better support and care…’

NS Healthcare reports that these wristbands have been trialled with construction workers after there were concerns about high numbers of employees in the filed experiencing poor levels of mental wellbeing.

But the level of effectiveness that a device of this kind will depend on how comfortable employees feel about sharing their struggles with their manager. It may be that low levels of communication or poor interpersonal relationships could hinder the success of this initiative. In contrast, wearables that help individuals and support them with managing their own wellbeing may find more success with employees who value their privacy.

Would you wear a wellness wearable? And if so, would you want your manager to track you? These are the questions that employees must ask themselves as the wellness wearable takes off and becomes the new technology trend of 2023, as people try and improve their health and wellbeing at the start of the new year.

Read more on technology trends in Echo Callaghan’s monthly Technology Roundup in WORKTECH Academy’s Innovation Zone here.
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