This post was originally published on the Fitbit press site. It has been adapted from its original format.
Fitbit today announced a new Ready for Work solution to help employers with the unprecedented challenge of returning to the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitbit’s Ready for Work solution gives employees access to key health metrics from their Fitbit device along with exposure, symptom and temperature logging, all within an easy-to-use Daily Check-In feature that provides employees with guidance on whether to go into the workplace. Daily reporting and analytics enable employers to quickly assess and monitor workplace health and safety and provide support for employees. The solution is available through Fitbit Health Solutions and aims to help employees and employers combat workplace spread of COVID-19 and return to work safely, confidently, and in good health.
“For more than 13 years, Fitbit has been working with employers to provide accessible and engaging solutions for employees to improve their health. As workplaces start to reopen, we have an opportunity to help employees better track their health and make informed decisions about whether or not to go to work,” said Amy McDonough, General Manager and Senior Vice President for Fitbit Health Solutions. “Early action is key to protecting the workforce and the workplace. Ready for Work enables employees to view trends in their Fitbit-tracked health metrics next to self-reported symptoms so they can assess their health and readiness for work from home.”
A More Complete View of Health
COVID-19 is a complex illness that people may spread without displaying symptoms, making it difficult to rely on a symptom check or a temperature screening alone to understand who might be contagious. The CDC recently estimated 40 percent of coronavirus transmission is occurring before the onset of symptoms. Early research shows that resting heart rate data and other key health indicators from wearables have the potential to identify flu-like illness before symptoms emerge.
Unlike onsite temperature checks or screenings, Fitbit’s Ready for Work solution provides a continuous, more complete picture of an individual’s health. The Daily Check-In feature highlights for employees changes in their resting heart rate, heart rate variability and breathing rate alongside self-reported symptoms, temperature, and COVID-19 exposure. Based on these factors, the solution provides the employee with daily guidance to help them decide whether to go to work or stay home.
“Wearable devices are powerful because they measure nuances in biometrics potentially indicating the onset of illness that cannot be detected during a regular physician office visit,” said Dr. Michael Snyder, Director of Stanford’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine. “When measuring heart rate, even an increase of two heartbeats per minute could be indicative of a significant immune system response, which is why wearable devices can be important tools in assessing the overall health of employees as they prepare to return to work, especially when evaluating pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19.”
Supporting Employees During a Time of Transition and Beyond
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, more than half of US adults surveyed reported that worry or stress related to the COVID-19 outbreak has led to at least one negative mental health effect. Transitioning back to the workplace is likely to further contribute to this stress. Supporting employees through COVID-19 requires an approach that provides ongoing mental health and wellness support whether individuals are working at home or onsite.
As part of Fitbit’s offering, employees will have access to Fitbit Care’s full suite of services, including weekly webinars, podcasts, videos and other content from Fitbit health coaches to help employees learn strategies for adjusting to new routines and coping with change. Employers can offer their employees the opportunity to enroll in Fitbit Health Coaching and work with a Fitbit health coach to understand how stress is affecting them and access resources and guidance to support their ongoing mental health needs beyond this transitional return to work period.
Fitbit’s Ready for Work solution builds on the Fitbit Care platform, which focuses on driving lasting behavior change. Fitbit Care supports employees by providing health insights and guidance via Fitbit Premium, personalized health coaching, Fitbit Challenges, mindfulness tools and content to motivate and help employees reach their health goals.