Five minutes with…. Greg Lazzaro

As a leading voice in workplace health and safety, Greg is excited about what wearables could mean for the wellbeing of New Zealand’s employees

Greg Lazzaro is the Global Health, Safety, Resilience & Risk Director at Fonterra. As a global dairy nutrition company owned by 10,500 farmers, Fonterra is a central player in New Zealand’s rich agricultural landscape. We were delighted to learn more about Greg, his industry, and the future that wearables could herald.

Are wearables already being used in the dairy industry (here or abroad)?

I am not aware of the wholesale use of wearables in the dairy industry specifically, but I believe as technology improves, we have much to benefit from wearables. This will be part of a more holistic wellness programmes in the near future. Fonterra is very aware of the strong link to wellness and overall employee engagement so this is an exciting and significant focus for our business.

As a leading voice in H&S, what impact do you think wearables could have in the workplace?

I believe that wearable technology will extend our knowledge of what our body is telling us. Hydration levels, exertion and overall health will be identified and remedied in real time.

The latent and cumulative effects of our physiology is still an area that people struggle with; for example, the basics of eating habits and exercise.

If we could extend these basics to connect body conditions and exertion with mental wellbeing, diagnosing for stress, and then coordinating a nutrition dimension, just imagine the levels of intervention that individuals could have in managing their health.

If we could enhance wearables to extract this real-time and download to our devices, that is the interface we would see having a large benefit to our workforce health.

What are your hopes for this young field of technology?

I am really looking forward to the game-changers, the products that will become “standard issue”, the wearables that won’t be just “trendy”, but life changing.

Technology will see individuals be empowered to take better control of the demands of life, including - but not limited to - the workplace. I would like to see a better appreciation given to our overall human vulnerabilities, knowing when we need to have a break, knowing when to ask for help and when to recognise we are in states of stress and mental strain.

Life’s pressures are only going to get more demanding and the emotional stress and strains are areas where technology can enhance our coping mechanisms, remembering that we are all human!

I believe that technology will reshape this by communicating better with our bodies, unlocking our inner voice. We say that our bodies can tell us when we are not at our peak, it’s time for technology to better translate this that will enable us to listen better.

How do you think NZ stacks up internationally on the use of wearable tech?

I think that NZ is the incubator for innovation. We have a scale that is unique, a curiosity that is favourable and an entrepreneurial approach that allows for creativity.

If we could develop some real innovations in this space, NZ could be early adopters and lead the world in wearables.

We have the desire to be noticed globally and are a very proud country, so I believe that this would be great proving ground that could bring much benefit to the global challenges in health and wellbeing.

--- Do you have what it takes to design a wearable device that could change the workplace? Then submit your idea today... entires close on 2 July!