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雇主提供健康手环是好是坏?

更新时间:2017-12-15 13:52:35 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Your company's creeping interest in your body
雇主提供健康手环是好是坏?

A couple of hours have passed since Dan Gateno sat down at his desk when he feels a gentle buzzing sensation on his wrist. It’s the fitness tracker he is wearing sending him an alert, so he gets up and walks a quick lap of his office building before settling back down to his work again.

丹·盖特诺(Dan Gateno)坐到办公桌前已经两个小时了,他感到手腕上传来震动。那是健身手环给他发送的久坐提醒,于是,他起身在办公楼里快走了一圈,又回来接着工作。

The 43-year-old mainframe technology manager at IBM was given the device 10 months ago as part of a scheme run by his employer. He is one of the millions of employees around the world who have signed up to wear fitness trackers as part of their company's wellness programme.

作为雇主部署的一个项目,这位43岁的IBM大型机技术经理10个月前获得了这款设备。在全世界范围内,约有数百万人像他一样因为公司的福利项目而获得了这样的健身手环。

Under these schemes, sensor-filled wristbands like FitBits and the tracker UP by Jawbone are offered to workers at subsidised prices, or even given out free, to help encourage them to stay fit and healthy. Staff who sign up can choose to upload their data to a company website so they can compare their activity to those they work with. Firms can even set challenges for their workers, such as reaching a certain number of steps over a month, or pitch teams of staff against each other in friendly competition.

按照这些计划,企业会以补贴价格向员工出售Fitbit和Jawbone Up这些内置传感器的手环,甚至免费向其提供,以此鼓励员工保持健康状态。参与项目的员工可以选择将数据上传到公司网站,或者将自己的活动与同事进行比较。企业甚至会为员工设定一些挑战目标,例如每个月行走特定的步数,或者让不同的团队以友好的方式展开竞争。

“My job is quite sedentary and I used to find myself sitting at my desk all day,” says Gateno, who worked an average 8-9-hour day based at IBM’s site in Rochester, Minnesota. “Being able to use the tracker, see how many steps I have done compared to others in the company has inspired me and others to get a lot more active.”

"我的工作需要久坐,我经常发现自己在办公桌前一坐就是一天。"盖特诺说,他平均每天在IBM位于明尼苏达州罗彻斯特的办公室工作8到9小时。"能够使用这样一个健身手环,看看我每天的步数,然后跟同事进行比较,可以激励我和其他人多活动一下。"

A laudable idea perhaps - these companies are taking an interest in their employees’ wellbeing and encouraging their staff to move around rather than be stuck at their desks all day. For the employers, it makes sense. There is good evidence that regular exercise can improve memory, reduce stress, boost productivity and increase performance at work. There are clearly benefits for the employee too - they get to be fitter and healthier.

这或许是一个值得赞赏的想法——这些公司都很重视员工的健康,鼓励他们多多活动,而不是在办公桌前一动不动地坐一天。对雇主而言,这么做的确有意义。有充分的证据显示,定期运动可以改善记忆力、减轻压力、提高效率和工作业绩。对雇员的好处也很明显——他们会因此变得更加健康。

There are some, however, who worry that by giving employees technology that is capable of tracking their movements and sleep, employers may be crossing a line. Should companies be invading your private life to this extent and compiling this sort of data on their employees? And should your boss really be trying to make you into a better person?

然而,有一些员工担心,雇主为员工提供这种能够追踪其活动和睡眠状况的技术后,可能出现越轨行为。雇主是否应该如此入侵你的私生活,并汇总员工的这些数据?你的老板是否真的应该努力把你变成更好的人?

While fitness trackers have been available for consumers for a while they only popped up in the workplace a few years back as companies looked to find ways of helping them track progress in their wellness schemes designed to improve the health of their workforce.

虽然健身手环已经面向消费者销售了一段时间,但直到几年前才开始在职场流行起来,原因是许多企业都希望通过各种方式来追踪其职场健康项目的进度,以此提高员工的健康水平。

“About nine to ten years ago, we started hearing from employers who wanted to use our technology to improve participation and track progress in their wellness programmes,” says Amy McDonough, senior vice president of strategy and operations for Fitbit Health Solutions, one of the leading providers of fitness trackers to these corporate schemes. “We are now seeing them being used in all sorts of industries - finance, oil and gas, even hospitals and universities.”

"大约9年到10年前,我们开始听到有雇主希望使用我们的技术加强参与度,追踪他们的健康项目的进度。"Fitbit Health Solutions高级战略和运营副总裁阿米·麦克多诺(Amy McDonough)说,该公司是领先的健身手环供应商,"我们现在看到这些产品被应用在各行各业——金融和油气行业,甚至医院和大学。"

Last year alone, FitBit worked with 70 major companies within the Fortune 500 and 1,300 other businesses to set up schemes where its wearable devices were used by employees. An estimated 73% of employers in the US now offer some sort of healthy living plan for  staff as part of their benefits package and 8% of those provide fitness tracking bands. While in Europe and elsewhere in the world the figures are slightly lower, workplace wellness globally was worth $43.3 billion in 2015, according to the latest figures. The sector grew by 6.4% in two years, a rise from $40.7 billion in 2013.

仅去年一年,FitBit就与70家"财富500强"公司以及另外1,300家公司展开合作,让员工使用该公司的可穿戴设备。目前美国约有73%的雇主为员工提供各种各样的健康生活计划,并将其作为整体福利政策的一部分。其中有8%的公司提供健身手环。虽然欧洲和其他地方的这一数字略低,但最新数据显示,全球职场健康市场2015年的规模达到433亿美元。这一领域两年内增长了6.4%,2013年约为407亿美元。

Companies such as TransUnion, Ikea, Barclay’s bank and BP are among those to have introduced fitness trackers into their wellness schemes for tens of thousands of employees in the past couple of years. It's worth underlining that using the fitness trackers in these schemes is entirely voluntary, but those that sign up are encouraged to upload data from their devices to a computer system maintained by the company, where it is collated and used to tell employees how they are performing.

像TransUnion、宜家、巴克莱银行和英国石油这样的公司,也都在过去两年通过健康项目为员工提供了数以万计的健身手环。值得注意的是,在这些计划中使用健身手环全凭自愿,但他们还是会鼓励参与者将自己设备上的数据传输到公司维护的一套电脑系统中,对其加以整理,并把员工的表现告知他们。

But with all this sensitive personal data being collected and analysed by systems controlled by their employers, staff might be justified in worrying about how that information is used.

但由于要在雇主控制的系统中收集和分析很多敏感个人信息,员工可能担心这些信息的使用方式。

Snooping?

窥探?

“If you have an employee who is not performing well and is frequently absent, there could be a temptation to use the information from their fitness tracker to find out why,” warns Clare Gilroy Scott, an employment lawyer with Goodman Derrick. “An employee might say they are not well but an employer can see from the data recorded by their fitness tracker that they have done 14,000 steps that day. There are some big issues with these things.”

"如果你有员工表现不好,而且经常旷工,那就很希望使用他们的健身手环收集的信息来寻找原因。"Goodman Derrick劳动法律师克莱尔·吉尔罗伊·斯科特(Clare Gilroy Scott)警告说,"员工或许会说他们身体不好,但雇主却能通过健身手环的记录看到他们那一天走了1.4万步。这些事情存在很大问题。"

In Europe, data protection laws prevent bosses from using data gathered about their employees in this way in any kind of disciplinary action, unless of course, they have previously informed their staff that they will, perhaps buried in a contract they signed when they joined the fitness programme.

在欧洲,数据保护法禁止老板以纪律处分为目的,利用这种方式收集员工数据。当然,除非他们之前已经向员工告知此事,这些内容可能写在员工加入健身项目时签订的合同里。

“The data protection act requires employers to let their employees know if they might use their data in disciplinary actions," says Gilroy Scott. "And the employee would need to have consented. But if an employee is suggesting they are doing something they are not and an employer uses this fitness information as evidence to counter that, it could be more acceptable.”

"数据保护法案要求雇主告知员工他们是否会在纪律处分中使用这些数据。"吉尔罗伊·斯科特说,"而且需要获得员工同意。如果员工表示他们做了一些自己没有做的事情,雇主使用健身手环的信息作为反证,那就让人比较容易接受。"

So, this could mean that staff could still find their fitness data being used against them if they find themselves in a dispute with their employer.

所以,这表明,当员工与雇主发生纠纷时,健身数据可以用来作为不利于自己的证据。

In the US, the rules are even less clear. Employees should be protected by discrimination laws that prevent employers from forcing workers to take part in wellness programmes or punishing those that do not. But technology analysts Gartner predict that by 2018 there could be as many as two million employees worldwide required to wear a fitness tracker as part of the terms of their employment.

美国的法律更不明确。员工应当获得反歧视法的保护,避免雇主强迫员工参与健康项目,或惩罚那些不参与这类项目的员工。但科技市场研究公司Gartner预计,到2018年,全世界将有多达200万员工因为招聘合同而佩戴健身手环。

And many employers are now linking their fitness trackers to health insurance schemes, offering discounts to those who meet certain goals. UnitedHealthcare, for example, offers an employer programme that allows them to let their employees earn up to $1,500 a year (or $4 a day) in reimbursements on their health benefit plan if they reach daily walking goals while using an activity tracker. UnitedHealthcare said that while its Motion programme rewarded employees using fitness trackers, those who were unable to walk due to medical conditions could submit waiver forms. "Once the waiver has been approved, the employee will receive the full reward," explained a spokesperson for the company.

还有很多雇主现在将健身手环与医疗保险挂钩,为那些达到特定目标的员工提供折扣。例如,UnitedHealthcare就提供了一个雇主项目:倘若员工达到每天的行走目标,便可在健康福利计划中每年获得最高1500美元(每天4美元)的退款。UnitedHealthcare表示,虽然该公司的Motion项目奖励那些使用健身手环的员工,但因为疾病而无法行走的员工可以提交豁免申请。"一旦豁免申请得到批准,员工就可以获得全额奖励。"该公司发言人说。

Some groups in the US - such as the AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, which represents older Americans - have challenged schemes like these on the basis that they could potentially discriminate against people who are less able to be active because of their age.

包括AARP(之前名为美国退休人员协会,专门代表美国老年人的利益)在内的一些团体对这样的项目提出挑战。他们认为,这种方法可能对那些因为年龄问题而导致活动力降低的人群构成歧视。

Gilroy Scott also has concerns about the way many companies appear to be setting fitness goals for their employees in exchange for rewards. “If everyone has to get a certain number of steps to earn an extra day of leave, it could potentially be indirect discrimination,” she warns. “Older people and those with disabilities may be less able to reach those goals.”

吉尔罗伊·斯科特还担心很多公司的一种做法:他们会为员工制定健身目标,达标者可以获得奖励。"如果所有人都要行走特定步数才能额外获得一天假期,那就有可能形成间接歧视。"她警告说,"年龄较大的人和残疾人比较难以达到这些目标。"

Fitbit has published a pledge that it asks employers to make when they offer staff their trackers as part of a health scheme, including a statement that participation must be voluntary and cannot be used for adverse consequences or disciplining staff. McDonough admits, however, that they cannot force employers to fulfil this pledge, although the software platform it supplies offers some degree of protection.

当雇要将健身手环作为健康项目的一部分提供给员工时,就要签订Fitbit发布的一份承诺书,其中包含的一份声明称,参与必须自愿,而且不能用于不良后果或管教员工。尽管Fitbit的软件平台提供了一定程度的保护,但麦克多诺承认,他们不能强迫雇主履行这份承诺。

“Only a subset of the data is collected,” she says. “You don’t need to know what time I went to sleep or what I had for breakfast in the morning to run an effective wellness programme, but you might need to know step counts and the number of active minutes.”

"只有很少的数据会被收集。"她说,"想要实施有效的健康项目,你不需要知道我什么时候睡觉,或者什么时候吃早餐,但你可能需要知道我走路的步数和活动时间。"

She adds that most employers tend to come to FitBit because they want to improve the health of their staff, encourage teamwork with competitions or improve employee safety by looking at aggregate sleep levels across the company.

她还补充道,多数雇主找到Fitbit是因为他们想要提高员工的健康水平,鼓励竞争性的团队合作,或者通过了解全公司的整体睡眠状况来提高员工的安全系数。

TransUnion, for example, has introduced challenges in to its scheme that put employees from its sites in different countries into teams to foster collaboration between international teams by encouraging them to work together to reach a goal.

例如,TransUnion就在项目中引入了挑战机制,让不同国家的员工组成团队,通过鼓励他们一起达成目标来营造国际团队之间的合作氛围。

IBM also says it was extremely clear with the 50,000 employees who have signed up to its own scheme, which allows data from 15 different types of fitness tracker to be collated, about what would happen to their data. The data gathered from the devices is stripped of all identifying data before it is added to the system and then aggregated with the data from other employees before it is placed on the fitness "dashboard" on its intranet. This allows employees to check how they are performing compared to others, but without revealing who they are.

IBM自己的项目可以整理15种不同的健身手环收集的数据,该公司表示,他们已经对5万名参与该项目的员工明确透露了数据处理情况。这些数据中的身份信息都将删除,然后才会添加到系统中,之后再与来自其他员工的数据汇总在一起,最终添加到该公司内网上的健身"控制面板"。通过这种方式,员工就可以将自己的表现与其他人进行对比,但却不会显示出他们的具体身份。

“Wearable devices are really attractive to employers like ourselves because they give us a united theme to track activity across borders and hold cross country competitions,” says Ellen Exum, IBM's vice president of global health and wellness.

"可穿戴设备非常吸引像我们这样的雇主,因为它为我们提供了一种统一的主题来追踪全球范围内的员工活动,甚至可以举办跨国竞赛。"IBM全球健康副总裁艾伦·艾克萨姆(Ellen Exum)说。

IBM also provides its employees with an app that offers them mindfulness sessions or a nutrition app that offers personalised healthy eating programs and nutrition guidance. They are not alone - around 22% of companies also offer mindfulness training, according to one recent survey.

IBM还为员工提供正念会话应用和营养应用,后者可以为其提供个性化的健康饮食项目和营养指导。这并非个例——最近的一份调查显示,约有22%的公司也为员工提供正念训练。

This could, of course, be seen as a cynical ploy to make us all work harder. After all, a recent review of research into mindfulness found it could improve people’s performance at work and diet can also have a significant impact on your ability to work.

当然,这也可能被解读为一种恶意之举,为的是让我们更加努力地工作。毕竟,最近对正念研究展开的评估发现,这种方式可以提高人们的职场表现,而节食也可以对你的工作能力产生重要影响。

Egg freezing

冷冻卵子

But there is another intervention in our health by employers that for some marks a distinct step way beyond the boundaries of where our work and personal lives intersect. Companies including Apple and Facebook are offering female employees financial support to freeze their eggs so that, if they choose to, they can use them later in life for fertility treatment.

但雇主还会通过其他方式介入我们的健康问题,这在某些人看来,似乎早已逾越了职场生活与私生活之间的界限。包括苹果和Facebook在内的公司都会为女性员工提供财务支持,帮助其冷冻卵子,以便她们日后可以在自己愿意的时候接受生育治疗。

This controversial employee benefit offers female workers a way of potentially delaying when they might have children, giving them the opportunity to focus on their careers. There is, however, no guarantee that the expensive procedure - one that can costs tens of thousands of dollars and is also not without health risks - will lead to a baby for couples who have been unable to conceive naturally.

这种颇受争议的服务让女性员工可以推迟生育计划,使之有机会专心发展自己的职业。但却无法保证这种昂贵的手术能让他们怀上孩子,而且手术花费可能达到数万美元,还有健康风险。

Apple says that its support for egg freezing is part of wider programme of policies it offers aimed at helping employees with their families, including extended maternity leave and assistance with some of the costs associated with adoption. A spokesperson for Apple said: "We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families."

苹果表示,该公司为员工提供的卵子冷冻服务是其整体政策项目的一部分,为的是在家庭生活方面为员工提供帮助,包括延长产假,以及帮助他们解决与收养有关的费用。苹果的一位发言人说:'我们希望让苹果的女员工能够在生活上做到最好,帮助他们照顾爱人、供养家庭。'

For Gateno, however, the direct involvement of his employer in his health has been a positive development in his life. It has given him a positive way of channelling his competitive spirit, but also left him feeling far healthier.

但对盖特诺来说,雇主直接介入自己的健康问题对他的生活产生了积极意义。这为他提供了积极的方式来引导自己的竞争意识,也让他感觉更加健康。

“I weigh less now than I did when I graduated high school in 1992,” he chuckles.

"我的体重比1992年高中毕业的时候还轻。"他笑着说。

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