Business technology: a guide to supporting mental health in the workplace

Mental Health Awareness Week: 13-19 May 2019

In the digital world we live in today, technology is deemed to be a big stress factor for our mental health. The media has generated plenty of awareness around the fact that social media and too much screen time can increase the risk of depression and anxiety. It’s not easy to escape the bombardment of our many screens, both at home and at work? But as a nation, we’re slowly becoming more mindful of the negative impact technology can have on our mental health.

On the flipside, technology has also proved beneficial in helping us create positive daily habits and take care of our mental health. Many of us have turned to apps to help deal with rising levels of anxiety and depression. Headspace, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think are just a few examples of the great apps available for practices of mindfulness and meditation.

How has your business adapted the way it operates to help combat stress amongst your staff? Read our guide below to understand the various ways you can employ business technologies to make a conscious effort in addressing the issue. Discover the possible changes you could implement within your business…

59% of UK adults name their workplace as the biggest cause of stress

59% of UK adults experience workplace stress (Perkbox), making it the most common cause of stress in the UK. What’s more, over one in five experience moderate-to-high levels of stress at work several times a week. The biggest work-related contributor to stress is long working hours, which impacts 21% of people. Happiness in a job is essential to employee productivity; 39% work harder if they’re happy in their current job or workplace (One4all).

Artificial intelligence (AI): to help drive business efficiency

Productivity is the holy grail businesses across the world are trying to achieve, and a lot of them are turning to technology to help. Innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) are driving efficiencies by eliminating manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks like data re-entry.

Employees with jobs that require a lot of manual data input could save hours by using technology that now comes as standard in many of the latest versions of the software solutions they use daily, like their financial systems or CRM solution.

While this functionality is built into a lot of these programmes now, it’s the latest versions, meaning businesses operating on older legacy systems won’t reap these benefits. Plus, old clunky software that is difficult to use can make an employee’s job even more difficult. Additionally, Randstad found that one of the top factors in employee satisfaction is having the latest digital and technology tools.

Intranet solutions: working to improve engagement levels of remote employees

The businesses most likely to report issues with employee engagement are those with frontline or remote workers; 21% of businesses cite low engagement amongst frontline staff as a barrier, while 78% believe connecting with those employees is the key to success (Harvard Business Review).

Many studies evidence the advantage of offering remote working to your employees, with improved satisfaction, increased productivity and a better work-life balance just a few of the benefits, it can be easy for those workers to feel out of the loop with the office and company culture; 21% report feeling lonely and struggle with communication.

A lot of businesses are engaging and communicating effectively with these workers by using intranet solutions. By keeping up-to-date with key business updates and more informal topics, remote workers feel like they’re truly a part of your organisation’s culture. You can use this space to share social media feeds, event details or even take the opportunity to publish focus pieces on those remote workers to introduce them to the rest of your workforce.

Time management technologies: take some pressure off your staff

Thanks to our always-on culture and high workloads, we’re working longer hours than ever before. Employees often feel obligated to either work longer hours or to be contactable and working outside of hours, with 50% of people checking their emails outside of work (Dissent). Working more hours than standard can affect health, as the Australian National University found anything over 39 hours a week could be detrimental to health.

To gain control over workloads and reduce the pressure they put upon themselves, employees can use time management technologies. Ultimately, management must play a role in helping employees to reduce extensive working hours, but workers can proactively take steps to support themselves.

Time management tools are available to individuals for free, or as part of wider business solutions. From personal to-do lists to more comprehensive team or business-wide solutions where tasks can be assigned with a deadline and space for updates, the sky is the limit.

Solving workplace stress: a blend of business technology & support from management

There isn’t a magic catch-all solution that exists to solve workplace stress. In addition to using technology to manage stress, employees must be supported by their managers and businesses. But, amidst all of the headlines that identify technology as a killer of productivity and mental health, it’s reassuring that it can also be used to vastly improve them, too.

Article produced by Natasha Bougourd from TSG, a UK provider of managed IT services, specialising in IT support and solutions, security and applications including Office 365 and Sage.

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