Technology like smartwatches and cell phones are heavily integrated into society, so their presence in the workplace isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Although problems can arise, seamlessly incorporating the use of these devices into the workday could increase productivity by allowing people to stay connected to their personal lives and simultaneously maintain optimal job performance.
To accomplish this, both the employee and employer must engage in a modicum of smartwatch etiquette.
The pros of wearing a smartwatch to work are numerous. Smartwatches can relay important health info, notify you of emergency alerts, and of course, keep the time. The connectivity aspect of wearing a smartwatch at work is unparalleled, even allowing professionals in other areas of your workplace or your boss to ping your watch when they need to reach you.
Despite the benefits, some employers are hesitant to fully embrace smartwatches in the workplace. A former employer of mine cited distraction as their reason for banning them, and Major League Baseball employees were found guilty of using them in the dugout to steal signs.
General smartwatch etiquette tips across industries
A set of guidelines for smartwatch use in the workplace can serve to alleviate confusion and frustration. Each workplace is unique and the smartwatch regulations set out by employers and employee adherence to those regulations should reflect that.
Generally, all users should follow a few basic guidelines:
- Silence auditory alerts
- Do not use smartwatches in front of clients or patients
- Excuse yourself to use the talk feature
- Do not record proprietary information
If you wouldn’t pull out your phone and start scrolling through Instagram at work, don’t set your smartwatch to receive social media alerts. A buzz on your watch that lets you know it’s time to move around for the sake of your health or that your home security system has been activated is one thing, but a ding to let you know that your favorite celebrity just posted about their lunch is another.
Overall, flexibility is key, but common sense usage on the part of the employee and communicating expectations properly as an employer are crucial.
Which smartwatch is right for you?
While they can all tell time, keep track of your activity level, and have communication capabilities, each smartwatch offers unique benefits. When choosing which watch works best for you, you’ll want to keep in mind how and when you’ll be using it.
Consider these three popular options if you’re looking for a smartwatch to wear to work:
Starting at $499 (with cellular capability)
The most customizable Apple Watch to date, users can switch out the armbands or change the casing with ease. Cellular capability allows users to make calls, reply to texts, stream music, use Apple Pay, or use Siri.
Available in both 40 and 44 mm, it is made to fit a variety of wrist sizes. A full charge lasts a full day, and users can control which apps they receive alerts from.
Starting at $399.99 (with 4GG LTE)
Android users can connect their Galaxy Watch to their mobile device to make calls and send texts. A wireless charging dock, Samsung pay capabilities, and the ability to connect to Android apps make this the ideal smartwatch choice for Samsung users.
The “Day at a Glance” feature allows users to view their schedule for the next 10 hours and military-grade construction allows users who may encounter inclement weather conditions to wear their watch without fear of water damage.
Starting at $295 (without cellular capability)
Available in three versions: 46 mm Garrett and 44 mm Carlyle for men and 44 mm Julianna for women.
Although it does not work as a stand-alone cellular device, this watch is compatible with both Android 6.0+ and iOS 10.0+ mobile devices via Bluetooth technology. When connected, users can receive text, email, social media, alarm, and calendar notifications
This waterproof watch uses Google tech including Google Assistant, Google Fit, and Google Pay, and features untethered GPS capability. Users can store music and certain apps on the watch for when they want to be disconnected from their phone. The rapid charge feature allows users to receive an 80% charge in just one hour.