Alongside profound hardship, the pandemic has also inspired global innovation and opened the conversation on a number of key issues. A few of the most notable being the effect of the pandemic on mental health and the challenges posed by remote working. Higher rates of mental health problems have been reported by those working from home and this has negatively impacted peoples’ personal lives. The boundaries between work and home life have never been so blurred. People are working longer hours and taking fewer holidays. Despite this, productivity has gone up but there are questions about how sustainable this is.
Employee wellbeing has been rightly put at the forefront of most organisations’ agenda and many are now looking to technology to address mental health concerns. Expectations on how organisations can support their workforce are at an all-time high. Technology is fully integrated and used to support many aspects of our personal lives already, such as apps on our phones and devices such as Alexa, and this level of support is increasingly looked for in the workplace. Mental health is prioritised in particular by the younger generation and it is likely that an organisation’s wellbeing policy will be a key factor when applying for a job. Despite the negative press that technology and specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) has received, especially in the recent Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’, technology continues to support many businesses through the pandemic by facilitating remote working.
A notable study conducted by Oracle across eleven countries found that a staggering 68% of employees would prefer to talk to a robot about mental health concerns rather than their line manager. Despite the pandemic widening the discussion on mental health, the topic is still associated with a high degree of stigma and thus technology can provide a judgement-free zone. Talking to digital assistants or chatbots about wellbeing allows employees to have 24/7 access to support and companies can train these robots to answer health related questions and signpost useful resources. Appointments with GPs are especially scarce in the pandemic and therefore being able to have quick and regulated mental health information is highly valuable to avoid the rabbit hole of googling symptoms and self-diagnosis. AI chatbots could also be used to detect signs of mental health problems through language processing.
The other way in which technology could support our mental health is through automating and streamlining laborious tasks. Employee burnout has been exacerbated during the pandemic by fostering feelings of isolation and lack of purpose. The automation of certain tasks could help to reduce work stress and ensure employees are productive without a cost to their mental health.
Working from home does come with its benefits, many reporting a better work-life balance. So, if remote working in some form is a trend that is going to stay, organisations need to reimagine the processes they currently have in place to promote company culture and collaboration to ensure the benefits of working from home are sustained. Our work environment feeds into our wellbeing which in turn influences job satisfaction and productivity and therefore needs to be carefully considered by employers. More affordable and accessible virtual and augmented realities could nurture more personable communication, allowing employees to feel more connected to their colleagues. Many companies are already welcoming new employees virtually and thus features such as Oracle’s Onboarding and Journeys could be used to promote wellbeing from the outset.
2020 is now thankfully over. However, we are still facing the same workforce and mental health challenges in 2021. The pandemic has made it more clear that the workforce is human with human needs and thus there is a real onus on organisations to support employee mental health. If technology is used responsibly it has the potential to both ameliorate our working environment and to promote positive mental health.
About Namos Solutions
Namos Solutions are an award-winning Oracle OPN Modernised Partner specialising in the implementation and support of ERP, EPM and HCM business solutions, both in the Cloud and on-premise.
With global experience together with an impeccable track record, our business is built on our passion for delivering successful business transformation. Passion underpins everything we do at Namos – passionate about delivering beyond expectations, earning trust and building long-lasting relationships with our clients.
Although based in central London, we work wherever our clients need us to be. Many leading organisations located all over the world trust and rely on our expertise to deliver industry-leading business solutions. Namos customers can currently be found in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America and Africa. For more information, please visit www.namossolutions.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.