From bolstering in-home tech and data security to monitoring the mental health and boosting the morale of employees, here are 7 of our top innovations.
While the concept of working from home has been in the news a lot more of late, as companies across the world are forced to pivot this way in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the trend has been growing for several years.
In the United States alone, 43 per cent of Americans work from home occasionally, according to a Gallup survey, and 5 per cent, or 8 million people, work from home fulltime.
Springwise has been tracking innovations related to remote working as more sectors have adopted flexible working models. From bolstering in-home tech and data security to monitoring the mental health and boosting the morale of employees, here are 7 of our top innovations.
1. FITNESS TOOL ALLOWS MOVEMENT AT YOUR DESK
Officiser is a fitness tool designed to disrupt the sedentary lifestyle experienced by a large section of the global workforce. Those who spent their days working at a desk miss out on daily movement that promotes good health and a positive outlook. Simple and compact, the active footrest sits neatly under your desk, ready for use.
Relying on the principle of zero-gravity motion, Officiser simulates up to 70 per cent of the walking motion even when sitting. It also functions in conjunction with a standing desk. Regular movement throughout the day improves blood circulation, which is better for both your health and your brain performance.
2. TINY BOT MAKES HOME DEVICES ‘SMART’
Australian startup Adaprox has created a mini-robot that promises to turn almost any device into a smart device. The bot offers an affordable way to hook into the internet of things, according to Adaprox.
Fingerbot is a tiny bot that attaches to existing devices. It uses small finger-like prongs to remotely switch on electronics. Fingerbot can turn on anything from televisions to air conditioners. Adaprox has also created Adaprox Bridge, which links Fingerbots to the internet so you can activate the bot remotely. The bots can also be connected to Alexa, Siri or Google Home network.
3. SMART, OPEN HEARABLE DESIGNED TO WEAR ALL DAY
The Czech company Sentien has developed an open headset that sends sounds directly to the wearer’s inner ear. The design leaves the ear open so that the hearable can be worn all day.
Sentien Audio hearables are designed so that users can interact with devices and hear the world around them. The hearables resemble hook-over-the-ear headphones, but instead of being placed on the ear, the device rests on the cheek, in front of the ear. Sound is directed to the inner ear through the facial bones, known as bone conduction.
It is the “first all-day wearable audio headset with an ergonomic design and bone conduction technology”, Sentien Audio told Springwise.
4. WELLBEING APP ALLOWS COMPANIES TO MONITOR AND SUPPORT EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH
Wellness company Living Ashram launched a wellbeing app for employees. The subscription app uses a “whole human approach” which guides users through specially-designed practices including mindful breathing, forgiveness, gratitude and “Deeds of Appreciation”. The daily practices can be completed in 2-15 minutes. The company told Springwise the app has been designed to create “engaged, motivated, thriving teams”.
Users of the app also have access to curated resources with additional information, articles and videos. The goal is to help employees to regain a feeling of purpose, to counter feelings of disconnection and isolation and to help them connect with other employees. Through the app, businesses can also review analytical reports detailing the use and impact of the programme and access customised workshops on areas of particular interest.
5. STARTUP DEVELOPS MULTI-PLATFORM CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Contentful’s cloud-based content management system is aiming to disrupt how companies deliver digital content. The system allows companies to publish across all types of devices and channels — something traditional content management systems cannot do, according to the company.
The system uses four different delivery systems (known as APIs). That means businesses can quickly access, manage and deliver digital content to any user around the globe. The service also provides storage and security for clients’ digital content.
6. APP ENCOURAGES CO-WORKERS TO “LIKE” EACH OTHER’S HARD WORK
Japanese startup Unipos created a simple way to recognise and reward exemplary employee behaviour, through a peer-to-peer bonus system. Here is how it works: An employee thinks something a colleague has done is outstanding (and could go unnoticed) and recognises it publicly using an app to send a peer “bonus.” The service works sort of like Facebook in that good behaviour gets “likes”, or in Unipos terminology, a “peer bonus”, i.e. positive feedback.
When employees receive a bonus, they get a notification on the Unipos app or via other communication programs like Slack, Workplace, or Microsoft Teams. The idea is to provide real-time positive feedback for jobs well done. The service includes a company-wide timeline that displays all messages team members have received. They can then “clap” for their co-worker’s messages. Hashtags can be added to messages as well so that more people see them — and help the company reinforce particular values and goals.
7. SMART HARDWARE SYSTEM ENCRYPTS ALL ONLINE HOME DEVICES
Created by an ad-tech industry veteran, Winston is an easy-to-install smart hardware encryption system that protects users’ online privacy. Once running, the hardware filter protects every connected device in the home.
The system works with all websites, devices and streaming services, including Amazon’s Alexa, webcams, smart TVs and Wi-Fi routers. The filter protects users from pop-ups and cookies and, most importantly, blocks all surveillance of users’ online activity, from potential hackers and businesses trying to increase sales.
25th March 2020