Can technology improve employee mental wellbeing

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Innovators look to help resolve Work from Home challenges

As more individuals work from home today than ever before in recent history; knowing their emotional state has become harder for those in charge. A recent study claims that 1 in 3 adults, particularly women and younger adults, feel anxiety and depression related to COVID-19 – and this is before accounting for any specific work-related situations.

A mental wellbeing technology, called Moodbeam, (recently featured on BBC‘s New Tech Economy) promises better communication and employee empowerment. The UK based wearable gadget allows its wearers to voluntarily inform employers of their emotional state at any time during work – through the simple tap on one of its two buttons; yellow when feeling happy or blue when feeling sad.

With managers and employers no longer able to physically check-in, such technologies and mood monitoring devices are becoming more mainstream and increasingly more sophisticated. In San Francisco, the mental wellness app Modern Health aims to help employers more easily connect their workers with a variety of mental health resources, such as sessions with therapists.

With depression and anxiety estimated to have cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity before the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization, mental health in the workplace has become an even more urgent concern at present, given the current lockdowns and stay at home orders.

The majority of work from home employees have embraced the new reality – claiming to have increased motivation and productivity, among other things. However, certain sections of society claim to have become further marginalised. For example, women, when included, tend to get talked over by their male colleagues in conference calls. Mothers receive the brunt of looking after young children while managing Zoom calls. Individuals from various ethnic backgrounds find themselves disadvantaged given the lack of gestures on video communication. And if the growth and opportunities in the mental well-being technology space is any indication of an underlying societal issue, it is that working in isolation can have very negative implications on an individual level.



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