Paul Lefrere: Wearable technology can enhance employee performance


Wearable experiences (WE) and augmented reality (AR) can be used in combination (Wear) to provide important types of work benefit. Examples include empowering people with modest skills so they can perform at a higher level if they want to; giving people ways to explore new work and career options; improving employees’ understanding of what other jobs involve; reducing work-related stress and having more ‘say’ at work. This taps into the wish to make good choices, to be listened to. Needing to feel in control is important.

Expressed in terms of work benefits, Wear may result in opportunities for greater discretion at work or jobs with more responsibility. All of those benefits have to do with increases in the amount of discretion, influence and trust at work. They may involve small and manageable steps, which an employee may feel comfortable with.

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A Wear-style approach can record a wide range of small-scale, short-duration work-based experiences in ways that can be replayed or practised on via AR, as snapshots or microcosms of unfamiliar ways of working. ‘Performance augmentation’ applications enable employees to perform at a skilled level right from the start, for example, by delegating some aspects of a task to a smart software assistant, and gradually to reduce their dependence on that assistant through practice. In that way, they can become familiar with every aspect of a task or workflow, and turn it into part of their repertoire, which they become an expert on.

Dr Paul Lefrere is director at CCA Research