World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 450 million people worldwide are suffering from some form of mental health illness. Of this 450 million, more than 40 million are employees who work for businesses – whether big or small.
No doubt, the mental condition of employees has a direct bearing on how much a business makes. When a business has more positive and motivated employees, it is sure to make money. However, having employees with an ever stable mental health is still a far cry.
For this reason, businesses around the world lose around $1 trillion every year because of low motivation and mental stress suffered by employees.
In this article, we’ll look at how businesses can control losses and improve the mental health of their employees with the use of technology, including some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.
How to use technology to improve your employee’s mental health
Use of Digital Resources or Assistance Programs
It is no news that there is a stigma attached to mental illness. Almost everyone is affected by it, but no one wants to talk about it – especially in the workplace.
Your employees might feel ashamed if others found out about their problems. But they need to speak up about these problems because failure to do so will only cause more problems.
Not only will their performance suffer, but also the company or organization as a whole. Employees with bottled-up mental illnesses won’t work as efficiently as they need to and might even start to miss work or linger on certain projects.
Note that it’s not that employees don’t want to seek help, but it is that they are afraid of the stigma. So what can help?
The use of digital resources or online counselling platforms like BetterHelp
Since all your employees likely own an internet-enabled smartphone or laptop, offering help on these devices can go a long way. This means that employees can get the help they need without having to be at a mental health expert’s office.
It also helps to save time. Since employees would be getting help from their electronic devices, they’ll not need to commute or struggle to find time on their busy schedule.
Use of mobile apps
Various mental health apps are being developed ranging from Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal, Self-Meditation, and more. This means that there is at least one app that can help your employees with any mental health trouble they are facing.
Some apps are specific for a particular while others encompass two or more mental health issues. In all, you should choose or recommend one for your employee that meets the trouble they are facing.
To do that, you as the employer would need to take some things into account.
The first is to determine the end goal of the mental health app. As mentioned earlier, these apps meet different needs. Using an app that helps with substance abuse when dealing with depression might not have the desired effect.
Next, you’ll need to create a system that allows you to measure app usage’s success. How do you know whether the app is working? Are your employees feeling happier? Has their stress reduced? One way you can find answers is to run a survey.
To get more results, make the feedback anonymous so that employees can respond as open as they want to.
How Effective have these technologies help employees’ mental health?
One thing that damages the mental health of employees is the lack of creativity. Employees feel stifled when they can’t express their thoughts and ideas in the work that they do. When employees feel satisfied with the work that they do, they no doubt feel less mental stress and are motivated to do more. The use of technology can help employees think, create, and communicate in a way that boosts mental wellbeing.
Technology, through the use of surveys, helps employees voice their concerns to management. This helps to build a stronger workforce and also to receive feedback from employees who might be afraid of one-on-one confrontations.
Technology has also been effective in identifying some behavioral patterns that humans might not catch. For example, an employee might be used to taking short breaks from work around the same time every day. Technology can help track these events and offer help when the need arises.
Advantages of the use of technology to improve mental health
It is cheaper. The use of technology to handle mental health is cheaper than traditional methods. Mental health experts cost at least $70/hour while mental health apps can go as low as $60 per year.
It allows for anonymity. Employees looking to avoid social stigma would love that most technological solutions to mental illness offer a sense of anonymity. This means that they’ll not have to physically visit an office or even show their face – if the mental health care is handled over text or voice calls.
It is convenient. Digital mental health solutions allow you to access treatment from anywhere and at any time. It could be dead in the middle of the night or right on your commute to work.
Better data collection. Since the care is carried out online, it is easier for data to be recorded and used as a reference for further purposes.
Problems with using technology to improve your employee’s mental health
Privacy issue. There is a problem with trusting online mental health help because of the exchange of sensitive information. Many don’t feel safe while sharing certain confidential information about themselves.
The problem of effectiveness. Many still have questions as to whether digital mental health treatments have the same effect as traditional methods do.
The use of technology is slowing eating into every aspect of our lives – even in the mental health space. Employers can make good use of technology to make their employees happier and to lift their spirits so they can be more efficient in the workspace.