If you could have one piece of technology to change your working life what would it be? Car workers in Germany use smart gloves to save time and prevent accidents and are showing the world that they don’t need to be replaced by robots just yet!
Workers at BMW’s spare parts plant in Dingolfing, which has an employment of around 17,500 people, have replaced their hand-held bar code readers with gloves that scan objects when you put your thumb & forefinger together, the data collected is then sent to a central computer. This high-tech invention allows workers to keep hold of items with both hands and allows them to scan more quickly. Whilst only saving a few seconds each time, BMW reckons that each second saved adds up to 66 hours a day, who needs robots when you can work at that pace?!
Another way that robots could take over our working life would be due to physical reasons, in the UK over the last 12 months’ firms have lost more than £4bn on leave related to minor ailments after flu, back pain is the main cause of absenteeism. However, there’s no need to worry about that anymore! New York company Kinetic is trying to address this issue with a belt-mounted device that senses workers’ posture when lifting and gives them feedback when the position could be improved – by bending the knees more, for example. Managers can see all the collected data on a dedicated web page, helping them to spot areas for improvement. The Kinetic system also gives advice on how workplaces could be redesigned to reduce potentially dangerous practices. The system has recently been piloted at Crane Worldwide Logistics’ distribution facility in Texas, where it helped reduce the number of potentially damaging lifts performed by workers each day by 84%, the company says.
It’s not just physical injury that can lead to people taking time off, stress & illness are also prime culprits in missing workers in offices and workplaces. IT company Oracle have claimed that costs due to workers taking time off have plunged by $1m because of wellbeing interventions such as stress workshops. US health insurer Humana believes its Goal Guru health and wellbeing app can increase productivity by improving employees’ overall fitness. The “digital coach” app gathers data from multiple fitness trackers and mobile health apps and sets challenges that staff can take part in individually or collectively – from push-ups to mountain treks. Competition between teams – and even heckling – is actively encouraged!