COVID-19 took its toll on team wellbeing in 2020 and 2021. The effects of various lockdowns plus the impact of the disease itself were shocking. Here are some statistics that reveal the extent of the problem during the pandemic:
- 35.8 percent of adults exhibited symptoms of anxiety disorder.
- 28.4 percent had symptoms of depressive disorder and low mood.
- 41.1 percent had signs of either disorder.
- 77 percent of employees reported burnout at work.
Moreover, in 2020, 13 percent of adults reported new or increased substance abuse, and 11 percent “seriously considered suicide.”
Given these appalling statistics, leaders need to intervene. Part of their role must now include finding ways to ensure that their teams have better mental health.
The reasons for this aren’t purely altruistic. Research from Oxford University’s Said Business School suggests that workers are 13 percent more productive when they are happy compared to when they are miserable.
In this post, we explore seven ways that leaders can ensure that their teams have great mental health in 2022 using technology in innovative ways. Here’s what to do.
Use Software to Develop a Culture of Communication
91 percent of employees say that their bosses lack the ability to communicate with them effectively. And 23 percent say that they don’t talk about employees’ lives beyond work.
Therefore, one of the easiest things you can do now (if you’re not doing it already) is to open up a dialog with employees and discuss how they feel. When staff can talk about the mental health issues they face, they feel less trapped.
To facilitate communication, use chat software. Allow team members to communicate with you via Zoom, Slack, or other solutions suitable for your organization.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins with Apps
As part of this process, you’ll also want to regularly check in with your employees. Avoid assuming that they are doing well because the quality of their work is high. Instead, give them permission to be honest about how they feel and what is affecting their wellbeing at work.
The best way to do this is to use scheduling software. You can arrange quick weekly or monthly chats to look over mental health issues and check that everything is okay. These can be great for avoiding burnout.
Adjust Employees’ Screen Time Experience
Mental health isn’t just something that happens to employees. It’s also something that can be controlled physiologically.
Take Breathing.ai, for instance. This startup offers a wellness Chrome extension for screen-based workers. Features include things like screen tinting personalization and break reminders, which, when combined as the developers assert, improve worker wellbeing and happiness.
“Health is wealth. We always make sure our team takes breaks or time off. They will come back happier and healthier. It is also important to ensure the workplace feels like home. Employees prefer personalized workspaces over unlimited vacation days or anything else. With lots of work from home, we can still ensure that the screens have personalized colors, sounds, and breaks using our tech, and also that employees take off when they need it.” Hannes Bend, Founder of breathing.ai
Ask Employees to Download and Use Deep Breathing Apps
Ever since ancient times, humans have known about the benefits of deep breathing. Filling the lungs with air and then exhaling diaphragmatically activates the relaxation-focused parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the fight-or-flight response.
Today’s apps offer specific deep-breathing programs designed to enable stressed workers to change their state. By recommending or providing these solutions, you can switch them from a state of survival to one of creativity.
Provide Meditation Apps
Providing meditation apps can achieve similar results. These solutions train employees to get back in touch with their basic sense of being and abandon negative thoughts that hold them back.
Offer Health-Monitoring Technology
You can also try offering health-monitoring technology – something that is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Solutions such as Fitbit and Oura offer people deep insights into how their external environment is affecting their sleep and internal biochemistry. In some cases, they recommend how a person should approach the day based on their nutrition or the amount of sleep that they got the night before.
Offer Alternative Mental Health Resources
According to research by Willis Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes Survey in 2018, around 45 percent of employees feel uncomfortable coming forward to discuss their mental health. Many see it as something private for outside of the workplace. Leaders, therefore, should explore how modern technology is making it easier for workers to support their mental wellbeing anonymously.
Technology can potentially address this confidentiality issue in several ways by:
- Providing anonymous channels of communication with company leaders.
- Offering easy-to-access mental health services and chat support.
- Providing access to books and information that educate employees on how to improve their mental wellbeing at the office and outside of work.