Mental health concerns are increasingly prevalent in the workplace, as the stresses of modern society and the pressures of life result in people feeling more anxious, depressed, stressed, and fatigued.
According to the American Psychological Association, post-Covid, 63% of adults reported poorer mental health, lower physical activity, disrupted sleep patterns, and unhealthy habits. All these affect employee well-being and job performance.
According to the survey:
- 75% of employees experienced mental health challenges that affected their productivity at work;
- 42% of employees reported that toxic workplace culture has impacted their mental health;
- 75% of millennials have left roles because of anxiety and lack of motivation; and
- 50% of employees feel in danger of burnout.
Basic care for employees’ psychological well-being should, therefore, be fundamental for organisations to be competitive and successful. Here’s how smart technology can play a significant role in supporting your staff’s mental health.
There are a host of applications that provide features such as meditation, stress-reduction techniques, mood tracking, and cognitive behavioural therapy exercises that can provide mental health support.
Apps can help individuals monitor their health, dietary habits, blood pressure, stress levels, temperature, and reproductive cycle, offering an easy way to independently track their wellness.
Wearable devices such as smartwatches can monitor a host of indicators including heart rate, physical activity, and sleep quality. These can be connected to the above mentioned apps to provide essential information at a glance.
Workplace or industrial wearable devices can also improve safety and mental health. Newer AI-integrated tech can help with automation, monitor workers’ movements through commercial surveillance systems to ensure safety, and send alerts when needed.
New health and safety features can further alert users of irregularities and health concerns through the likes of ECG tests, fall detection, and step trackers. In an emergency, wearable devices can show first responders vital real-time data before they arrive at a scene.
Teletherapy and virtual counselling
In the wake of the pandemic, many people have adopted alternative ways of working and accessing services remotely. Therapy and counselling, too, have become more accessible, removing restrictions such as the need to travel or lack of localised specialists.
Virtual counselling platforms allow employees to connect with mental health professionals from afar, offering greater flexibility and privacy.
Companies can utilise digital platforms specifically designed to support mental health and well-being in the workplace. These provide educational content, stress-management tools, and access to mental health professionals.
Employees can engage with these at their convenience, access support, and track their progress.
Implementing productivity-tracking tools to help employees manage their workflow and workload while maintaining a healthy work-life balance can benefit your business.
These tools can also monitor work hours and breaks, and some even provide reminders for physical activities, hydration, and relaxation.
Smart technology has enabled flexibility and creativity in working arrangements, such as remote working or flexible schedules. These arrangements can reduce stress and support employees’ mental health by providing better work-life integration and eliminating stressful commutes.
While there is much debate on whether flexible working is ultimately good for business, it has nevertheless helped people better engage with their jobs, become more productive, avoid burnout, and combat stress and depression by providing more flexibility.
Remember: while smart technology can be a valuable tool and an important asset in today’s modern world, it should never replace human interaction and support.
Instead, it should be combined with a supportive work culture, open communication channels, and trained professionals who can offer personalised assistance as needed.
Read more articles by Dennis Relojo-Howell here.