Our fast-paced digital world brings big benefits and its share of disadvantages. Employees collaborate through video meetings, business messaging apps and work management platforms. And yet, with these increased connections, employers have found that morale and wellbeing are increasingly at risk. So what can we do to manage technology and wellbeing?
In this article, we examine how integrating technology into your workplace's wellbeing initiatives can lead to positive outcomes.
Technology and wellbeing: the pros and cons
In so little time, new technological advances have changed how we work and feel. Just last year, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) brought a technology like ChatGPT from the realm of science fiction to reality.
The ubiquity of technology at work brings both challenges and opportunities. Employee wellbeing can suffer amid constant distractions made easy by messaging apps. At its worst, these tools blur the lines between work and personal life. An always-on workplace culture where employers expect their team to be responsive to email outside of office hours can lead to overwork and a lack of work-life balance. Such issues have led to emerging policies around the right to disconnect from work.
The technology overuse can lead to a lack of true human connections. Workplace technology should enhance human connection, not replace it, as relationships with colleagues and coworkers are crucial to feeling connected and engaged at work. A recent Randstad survey found that 20% of the UK’s workforce don’t feel a sense of belonging at their workplace.
On the other hand, new technologies bring benefits. Indeed Insiders found that AI can decrease administrative workloads, giving them more time to spend on the parts of their job that matter the most.
New workplace wellbeing digital solutions offer many functions, from simple activity trackers that help you move more at work to more sophisticated devices that use machine learning to deliver personalised support.
A major research study shows that boosting employee wellbeing leads to higher productivity, lowers turnover and tangibly increases customer loyalty. Workplace wellbeing is increasingly becoming an expectation for employees and a business strategy for companies, with both parties recognising that happy employees are likely to stay.
How technology can improve employee wellbeing
Research shows evidence that digital mental health interventions can improve workers’ wellbeing and effectiveness. Workplace wellness technology is easy to use and accessible from anywhere, making it simpler for employees to access resources and support. Digital offerings fall into wearable and digital biomarker apps like fitness trackers; prevention and treatment solutions like health apps for online therapy and digital tools to manage stress; and analytics tools like AI-driven chatbots.
As people become more comfortable accessing health services online, such tools are transforming health care as well.
Unilever, for example, provides employees with free access to tools and support including Babylon Digital GP, an online platform giving workers access to GPs, physiotherapists and nurses, as well as a complimentary subscription to the Headspace meditation app.
The many features of workplace wellness technology
Personalisation is another key feature of workplace wellness technology. Company-wide wellness programmes are evolving from a one-size-fits-all approach to more personalised and data-driven solutions, which can be more impactful to individuals and lead to lasting behavioural change.
Digital health companies are enabling shifts to a care system that’s more predictive, preventative, personalised, and participatory.
Employers can also use technology to measure and track workplace wellbeing initiatives. The wellbeing initiatives’ success can be used for talent attraction and retention. Indeed’s Work Wellbeing 2022 Insights Report reveals that 72% of jobseekers in the UK said happiness data was important in informing their job search. UK workers find it important to see data related to wellbeing when considering working for a company. Companies can also see how they fare against work wellbeing scores.
Create a stronger culture of wellbeing
Uniting technology and wellbeing at work matters. By integrating technology into your workplace wellbeing strategies, you can create a stronger culture of wellbeing that truly supports your employees’ health and happiness.