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13 Sep 2021

Ways to use technology to support your employees’ mental wellbeing

When it comes to employee mental wellbeing, technology can be a double-edged sword.

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Although digital innovations have been a great enabler in the workplace, with one-click collaboration tools driving seamless instant connection among teams, technology has also bred an ‘always on’ working culture that’s leaving a huge number of employees feeling burnt out and struggling to achieve a work-life balance. 

Yet, tech used in the right way can help facilitate a healthier and happier workforce by equipping employees with the digital tools they need to take control of their own wellbeing – connecting them to emotional support and medical expertise as well as providing them with inspiration to stay active and well.

So, in what ways are leading companies turning to the latest tech as a way to support their employees’ mental wellbeing?

Here, we look at how employers can implement technology within their employee benefits offering to enable their people to live their best lives. 

Virtual GP and employee assistance programmes

Concerns around health and mental wellness are at their peak following the pandemic, making medical coverage an important assurance to employees that their employer is prepared to care for them, and helps prevent any unwanted outcomes such as long term absences and presenteeism.

For many people, attending a doctor’s appointment isn’t easy. In fact, 66% of people agree that they struggle to get an appointment at a time that suits them. Providing virtual healthcare can be a great way to eliminate this stress and help colleagues deal with long NHS waiting times – with the average appointment taking two weeks.

Support benefits that are proactive as well as reactive to personal problems can help to support and retain workers. Employers have started to assist colleagues with proactive employee assistance programmes (EAP) that provide mental health and personal support on a range of issues. 

To take a benefits strategy to the next level, there is a real need for seamless integration to limit the number of touchpoints for employees looking to access them. Otherwise, you risk losing employees at their point of need. Technology has the potential to bring together all these benefits under one umbrella. This can drive utilisation and engagement, and ultimately better serve colleagues when they need it most. 

Mindfulness apps to relieve stress

Mindfulness is all about staying in the moment, not fretting about the past or worrying about the future. Once you know how to achieve mindfulness you can accept yourself exactly as you are, and enjoy the inner peace and calm that living in the moment brings. It’s a great way to relieve stress.

That’s why many employers are drawing on the advances in modern technology to democratise mindfulness practice by meeting employees where they are at: their smartphones. There are many wonderful mindfulness apps available, such as Calm and Headspace, which offer a variety of guided meditations, sleep stories and masterclasses that help users stress less, sleep more and strengthen their mental fitness.

Bringing the gym home

Mental and physical health are strongly interconnected. Looking after your physical fitness is key to making sure you’re protecting your mental wellbeing. 

There is a wealth of evidence suggesting that exercise is as effective as many clinical interventions for preventing and treating mental health problems. According to our chief wellbeing officer, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, moderate exercisers are 30% less likely to suffer a depressive episode.

Instead of providing corporate gym memberships that largely go unused and see little return on investment, employers are increasingly going digital to provide access to at-home workouts or through apps that cater to all physical levels and interests.

Caring about employees' financial worries

We tend to underestimate the impact that financial wellbeing can have on employee mental health. 2021 research from Claro, in partnership with Mental Health UK and The Money Charity, has demonstrated a direct link between levels of financial confidence and mental wellbeing, which is why helping your employees build financial resilience is vital.

Financial health shouldn’t be seen as a work perk, but an essential mental health tool. Businesses that fail to tackle their employees’ financial stresses are more likely to encounter poor work performance and a lack of engagement, found Neyber’s DNA of Financial Wellbeing 2018. And now, employees are increasingly expecting support in this area, with 69% believing that their employers have a duty to help them with financial wellbeing, according to our Employee Health & Wellbeing Survey 3.0 (2021).

With the rapid development of digital options and apps designed to help people manage their finances, it’s never been easier to provide employees with services that can support them with money worries. Alleviating this stress offers real peace of mind that can boost productivity and performance.

Personalising benefits and support

One of the major benefits of using tech-based employee benefits is the ease of data collection. With the anonymised data that can be collected through wellbeing apps, employers can gain insight into their teams’ activity and use this to initiate more positive behaviour changes

For example, if data from smartphones show large clusters of mindfulness challenges taken at night, signposting for mental health counselling for stress and sleep could ensure a happier, healthier team in the long term.

Our a tech-driven approach harnesses the power of gamification and the latest behavioural science to reward healthy living and put mental wellness within reach of everyone.

This article is provided by YuLife.

In partnership with yulife

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