Some people love Working From Home. But for some, it’s a struggle that can seriously impact their mental health.
While many people love the better work-life balance that home and remote working can provide, others find everything from their general well-being to feelings of social isolation being made worse.
If this sounds like you – or you’re a leader who wants to make sure your team are happy and productive – it might be worth looking into the support that’s out there.
In fact, there’s a growing landscape of digital technology and software that can help you manage your or your team’s mental health when Working From Home.
Why use digital technology to support good mental health?
Mental health really should be seen as an equal and key part of overall physical health. Yet there’s still much more of a stigma around mental health than there should be.
However, many organisations are finding that it’s not only good practice to have a wellness program in place, but by making their programs virtual or digital they get some serious advantages, such as:
- Easy access – these programs are available on-demand, so there’s no waiting to see a therapist.
- Empowering – each person can choose how they engage with the program, meaning they can do so only when or if they need or want to.
- Anonymity – they’re anonymous, so there’s no need to worry about any potential stigma being attached.
Tech tools for Working From Home mental health
There are a growing number of ways that digital technology is being used by various organisations to deliver or supplement their overall employee health and well-being programs:
1) Internal communications practices
Having the right communication strategies and software in place is one of the absolute basics that any organisation of any size should focus on when it comes to their Working From Home setup.
This is vital for enabling good collaboration and productivity, of course. Yet it’s just as important for the mental health of your team.
Fundamentals like encouraging people to turn their cameras on for virtual meetings, giving everyone time to contribute, and choosing the right software package – Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, or some other combination that suits your specific organisation – are always the place to start.
2) Digital and virtual therapy
Virtual therapy was already on the rise pre-2020. But it really hit the big-time during the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person appointments were less desirable or outright not allowed.
Different programs offer different degrees of human involvement, from chatbots to virtual therapy sessions with a real professional to streamlining in-person appointment booking.
The therapy itself is sometimes delivered by in-house specialists for larger companies. However, most organisations use third-party apps and providers.
Mental health isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Some people find they need some support some of the time. This is where the on-demand, flexible nature of these programs really shines.
3) Data collection and wearables
Devices like smartwatches are now being used to collect data about people who opt-in to some wellness programs.
Some of this is physiological data like your heart rate or skin temperature, but you might also be asked to report your mood or make a voice recording so an app can analyse your stress levels.
This data can then be analysed or anonymously reported to HR, allowing businesses to track things like processes or teams that are most under pressure. Or an app might use data to suggest to you personally that it might be a good idea to take a few days off or talk via one of the integrated anonymised therapy options.
If you’re building data collection into your wellness programs it should always be anonymous and clearly stated. Data can be immensely valuable in helping you identify pain points within your organisation. But those points should be – at minimum – restricted to the team level.
Consider your framing
On top of getting the right well-being systems in place, a major obstacle for many people – and many business leaders – is framing the way to describe your personal wellness strategy or employee mental health offering.
Everyone, whether they think of it in this way or not, has ways of working and things they do to safeguard their mental health. Some strategies are simply more obvious and explicitly targeted than others.
Framing participation in any wellness program (for yourself personally or for your team generally) as a positive thing to do – a way to boost performance and productivity – can help you care for your own as well as your team’s mental health when Working From Home.
Want to unlock your employees’ use of tech for mental health and more?
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