CEO at WinWire Technologies, assisting Senior IT Leaders in helping them support business transformation.
The way to build a successful enterprise has been rapidly morphing, especially since the start of the pandemic. Executives nowadays need to do more than simply provide a clear vision and encourage collaboration. They must also take stock of their employees’ mental and physical health and create internal support systems that address issues, such as too much workplace stress. A new wave of technology solutions is emerging that can help them meet that objective.
The Murky Line Between Personal And Professional
Technology advances have infringed on employees’ personal time by blurring the line between work life and personal time. Even before the pandemic, 64% of workers surveyed cited work as a personal stressor, according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association.
The reasons why they feel that way at work are many. Competition is increasing as markets become more global and lifecycles more fleeting. Consequently, enterprises are under intense pressure to do more with less. The traditional 9 to 5 workday has been replaced by a 24/7 model.
The problems became more pronounced once Covid-19 hit. As a result, much of the business world shifted from a central office to a work-from-home model, causing stress to rise and employees’ well-being to be threatened. Workers dealt with external and internal stressors, which affected their outlook, productivity, health, family and stability.MORE FROMFORBES ADVISOR
Best Travel Insurance CompaniesByAmy DaniseEditor
Best Covid-19 Travel Insurance PlansByAmy DaniseEditor
In the wake of the pandemic, the new remote work environment increased the always-on outlook, one where managers expect employees to be available whenever the business needs them. In fact, 66% of employees surveyed agree that working from home blurred the lines between work life and home life, and 60% said that the model increased the pressure to respond to work outside of office hours, according to a survey by Aetna.
The Personnel Shortage Grows
Managers now need to take steps to address such problems ASAP. Why? Employee dissatisfaction is rampant. In fact, more than one-third of employees surveyed by Eagle Hill Consulting LLC plan to leave their current jobs in the next 12 months.
Corporations had already been experiencing a difficult time finding employees as demand for skilled workers grew. With automation taking on more of the traditional manual work, firms need staff strong in areas such as accountability, reliability, discipline, resilience, stress tolerance and adaptability. In one research summary, seven in ten employers surveyed globally say they have trouble hiring workers with the right mix of technical skills and human capabilities in areas like Operations and Logistics, Manufacturing and Production, IT, and Sales and Marketing, as stated by Manpower Group.
Technology’s Double-Edged Sword
Technology advances created some of these problems, but it also has the potential to fix them. Individuals are now quite aware of the new wave of smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices that monitor their physical activity, like Fitbit and Apple Watch. Similar types of solutions are being created for their well-being. They range in features from the obvious to the oblique.
Companies are making it easier for employees to access mental health services. Those who need or just want video sessions with qualified therapists book them quickly and easily via channels, like Microsoft Teams and Slack.
New applications are designed to help the person spend quality time on themselves. For instance, businesses encourage the use of mental health applications that help them deal with stress by taking out time during the day to exercise and meditate.
On a similar note, a variety of activity trackers monitor items like how much time a person spends at their desk or what and when they input information into their laptop. Periodically they send employees notes that say now is a good time to take a break and go for a walk.
Collaboration solutions analyze text, content, communication patterns and conversations to gauge how employees feel at work. They measure morale in real time so that leaders can take immediate action to address problems rather than rely on traditional tools like periodic surveys that usually introduce a time delay.
Brain-sensing earbuds contain electrodes that measure a brain’s electrical activity and analyze levels of stress and distraction. Coupled with artificial intelligence solutions, they try to ensure that individuals are not overworked by offering advice that they switch to other less stressful activities at various times during the day.
Employee Well-Being Impacts The Bottom Line
Why take these steps? Companies have a moral obligation to empower employees, so they create a balance between their work and office life. Also, healthy employees are productive employees. By lowering levels of conflict and stress, individuals gain a clearer, more focused mindset, one capable of focus and problem-solving.
In essence, such programs improve the company’s bottom line. Well-being is positively correlated with employee productivity, organizational profitability, customer satisfaction and employee retention, from the Global Happiness and Well-Being Policy Report published by the Global Happiness Council.
Corporations gain tangible benefits. Deloitte found the median yearly ROI on mental health programs was $1.62 Canadian dollars among seven companies that provided at least three years’ worth of data. Corporations with programs in place for more than three years saw a median yearly ROI of $2.18 Canadian dollars.
Consequently, businesses are investing in such solutions in growing numbers. The global corporate wellness market generated $52.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 7%.
Technology has been advancing at a breakneck pace. With it has come an increase in pressure that employees feel, a blurring of the lines between the home and the office, and a decrease in employee mental health. New solutions are emerging with a wide range of functions that offer simple tips or complex monitoring of an individual’s daily interactions to help them better maintain a healthy work/life balance. Such solutions deliver help to employees in need, which in turn provides the organization with focused, relaxed, productive employees, a win/win for both.
Forbes Business Development Council is an invitation-only community for sales and biz dev executives. Do I qualify?