Text by: Marie Stebner, Student Assistant at RWTH Aachen University; Vera Rick, Research Associate at RWTH Aachen University

What do you think of sensor-based measurements in your daily work? This is one of the questions we would like to answer as part of the WorkingAge project. Therefore, an online questionnaire, as described in one of our previous posts, was launched in the month of May collecting data from both secondary and tertiary users of the WorkingAge Tool. As the previous blog post mentioned, the analysis of the data had only just started. Now, the data evaluation has progressed and we are happy to be able to aid in the further development of the WAOW Tool, whilst also allowing us to contribute to a field of research, which up to now has only been considered to a very limited extent.

Sensor based measurement methods, as used in the WAOW Tool, have many advantages, including the objectivity of the recording, the continuous recording, but also that they are often non-invasive and function without contact, such as cameras and microphones. Due to these numerous advantages, there is a lot of research on and about measurement methods that capture physical and mental stress and strain in a sensor-based way, just like the WorkingAge project. However, the expectations and concerns of relevant stakeholders rarely play a role. As one of the first studies to examine the expectations and concerns of relevant stakeholders’ when it comes to the adoption of employees’ mental and physical condition in their daily work, our study is seminal.

The results are very promising and indicate a willingness to support monitoring in the context of helping to raise awareness of employee well-being, improve working conditions, identify occupational safety risks and the potential for incentives to change behaviour. However, like the laboratory study, the importance of privacy issues became apparent. One of the main findings of this study is the major role of privacy concerns, as it was the most prevalent concern in quantitative ratings, by far the most frequent concern in open responses and showed the strongest association with system support. 

Being aware of this, we have designed the WAOW Tool with a particular focus on ensuring privacy, through strict compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), such as data anonymisation and limiting data accessibility finding, in order to create a balance between obtaining the intended benefits and preventing opportunities for abuse.

We are looking forward to starting the Pilot Test with these promising results and to support our users in the best possible way to work and live healthy in the long term!