London businesses have embraced the wearable technology revolution after research revealed more than a quarter of workers in the capital are provided with gadgets by their employers.

The study commissioned by PMI Health Group, part of Willis Towers Watson , showed 26% of London employees are provided with wearable tech, compared to the British average of 9%.

The market for the gadgets is set to hit $5.8billion by 2018, an 800% increase on its 2012 value.

PMI Health Group director Mike Blake said: “Wearables have become commonplace in recent years and their popularity provides employers with a golden opportunity to collect valuable data that can be used to improve health and wellbeing.

“It appears businesses in London have been quick to embrace this and we have already seen many examples of company-funded wearable schemes, where employees accept devices in the understanding that the data generated will be shared with their employers.

“Such initiatives can form part of wider health and wellbeing programmes, helping businesses to identify areas of risk and empower staff to take positive action.

“Not only could this enable a more proactive approach to absence management, tackling worrying trends before they become problematic, but it could also help to reduce claims and health insurance costs in the long term.”

PMI Health Group director Mike Blake

The research also found 39% of British workers would object to sharing personal health-related data generated by wearables with their employers.

“Businesses will find it encouraging that only a minority of staff are opposed to sharing wearable data as part of wellbeing schemes,” said Mike.

“But even when objections are raised, such barriers can often be overcome through clear communication and consultation with employees.

“It is important for companies to outline what data will remain anonymous and underline that data will not be used in a discriminatory or unfair manner.

“In cases where data has been used to secure a reduction in insurance premiums, employees may also benefit from reduced contributions themselves, which will help to further smooth the process.”

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