How to handle smartwatches in the workplace

How to handle smartwatches in the workplace

Many businesses have anti-cell phone rules. Companies want employees to talk and text on their own time. (Emergencies are usually an exception.) Many companies ban social media from being accessed on their intranet. Personal social media use wastes time and impedes productivity. So, if websites are blocked from company browsers, and cell phones are banned from use during work hours, what about the latest way to access personal calls, texts, and social media? The Apple Watch, Wear OS watch, or any kind of smartwatch are capable of doing all of these things, all from a person’s wrist.

How to spot a smartwatch

  • Smartwatches generally have dark electronic faces that are square and a little bigger than normal watches.
  • They light up only when a person is moving or getting some kind of incoming data.
  • Smartwatches often have large silicon bands, but they can be any color and any type (leather, mesh, metal, etc.). The bands easily snap on and off the sides of the watches, so that users can have several different bands for one watch.
  • Smartwatches make sounds like mobile phones, such as ringing and buzzing.

Ways to ensure the smartwatch is not hindering productivity

Here are some ways to handle smartwatches in the office:

  1. Ban smartwatches from the workplace

    This won’t make you very popular and could result in legal ramifications. The argument you’ll hear is that people are using wearable devices such as the Fitbit for fitness goals and health, and you may make an exception that employees can only use the fit settings on their smartwatch while at work.

  2. Have employees sign a document when they are hired

    Have employees sign an agreement that they will not use their smartwatch to access social media, watch videos, take photos of sensitive information, or to talk, text or use personal email while at work.

  3. Express your concerns about productivity and smartwatches

    There are some features the watches have that can help manage time in the workplace. You may want to discuss the positives and the negatives, and limit the usage to the good. There are several ways that that smartwatches can actually help your business. For example, they can help with team productivity, efficiency and quicker response times.

  4. Be positive and pro-active

    Discuss all of the great ways smartwatches can help manage time. There are several apps for smartwatches that focus on enhancing teamwork in the workplace. Clearly explain what you don’t want people doing while using their watch. You may just end up with a more efficient team if you embrace the changes and maybe even use a smartwatch to help with your health or productivity goals.

The smartwatch doesn’t have to be a negative factor in the workplace. Some business owners may even want to promote having one of these devices as there are some apps that increase productivity. They might even be fun.