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article imageBiometrics used to assess worker happiness and productivity

By Tim Sandle     Mar 11, 2020 in Science
A new industrial study has used a biometric wearable to draw the conclusion that worker happiness leads to greater productivity. The study collected data relating to worker emotions, and cross-related the data to work rate.
The study was conducted by scientists based at the School of Economics at Hiroshima University, investigating the behaviors and emotions of workers employed at a toy factory based in Laos. the focus was on the degree of toy painters' productivity compared with their working-on-the-job emotional states. From this, the researchers hoped to develop a framework that could be used to advise companies in developing operational and human resources strategies.
Biometrics is about the collection and analysis of metrics related to human characteristics. Over time biometrics has become increasingly widespread. Biometric data used in many domains, including border controls using machine-readable passports, healthcare, voter identification and restricted access areas. Data security is important, given that the information collected is often of a sensitive nature and attention needs to be paid to various regulatory and jurisdictional requirements.
To gather the data, fifteen employees were provided with a questionnaire and they were also issued with a device fitted to their wrist. The device was able to detect motion, via a built-in sensor. Other sensors were able to collect data pertaining to pulse waves, environmental ultraviolet light levels, worker body temperature, and the level of sound. Through the day, each device continuously recorded information connected to physical activity, heart beat pulse intervals, outer skin temperature, and, after the working day had ended, the amount of sleep each worker had.
The device that recorded the information was a special type of biosensor - a Silmee(TM)W20, manufactured by the TDK Corporation Tokyo, Japan. This device was used to assess the workers over three 24-hour periods.
The workers were clustered into four base emotional states: happy, angry, relaxed, and sad. These states were compared against productivity levels, and this indicated that the happier the worker, the better their productivity.
The research has been published in the journal Sustainability. The research paper is titled "Emotional Status and Productivity: Evidence from the Special Economic Zone in Laos."
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