Digital Technology Solutions for the Mental Health Crisis
2021 might be coming to an end. But the mental health crisis in the workplace, turbocharged by COVID disruptions to the way we live and work, continues unabated. What can be done to get your wellbeing program off the ground in the new year?
The contours of the mental health crisis emerged long before COVID
Attacking the root of the wellbeing crisis is the best place to start. Those roots predate COVID.
Even before the pandemic, mental health problems were a leading cause of absenteeism, presenteeism, and lost productivity. Indeed, half of all working days lost annually from absenteeism were stress related.
The costs were immense. Absenteeism alone cost more than $84 billion per year.
How about depression and anxiety? They cost the global economy more than $1 trillion, according to the WHO.
That’s because mental health issues often create a vicious cycle of physical health problems, lower performance, and higher employer spending.
And that’s when employers maintain those employees. American corporates, for instance, have been haemorrhaging workers in what’s being called the Great Resignation – with poor working cultures often seen as the culprit.
Software capabilities to help organisations improve working cultures in the face of the mental health crisis
Of course, implementing best-practice wellbeing programs as noted in international standard ISO 45003 is a sure way to improve those working cultures.
Organisations shouldn’t belabour implementation, though, or launch broad-based wellbeing efforts without an adequate means of tracking effectiveness against organisational targets.
So, what can be done?
The solution, here, is investing in digital wellbeing management technologies that help businesses (1) respond to mental health and wellbeing events, (2) implement and track proactive initiatives to support their personnel, as well as (3) better understand the opportunities for mental health and wellbeing improvement.
What capabilities will enhance your 2022 wellbeing management efforts? Consider the following:
- Manage your wellbeing register. In this age of remote working, senior leadership needs to be able to manage personnel who are not working from the office. That means properly overseeing their wellbeing, according to statutes, and putting in controls to keep staff safe and healthy. To comply, organisations should procure wellbeing management technology that gives them the ability to (1) add individual staff members to a wellbeing register, (2) opt them into different programs to help manage their welfare, and (3) provide summaries of the specific processes being completed and the outputs of these processes.
- Enables ergonomic assessments. Along those lines, safety leadership needs to be able to make sure remote workstations are safe, to mitigate the health risk (particularly of soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders) to workers. Wellbeing management platforms, as such, must be able to provide organisations with the requisite functionality, so that their workers can complete periodic ergonomic inspections on their remote work setups, whether they are working from home or travelling.
- Sends out wellbeing surveys. Knowledge is power. Leadership can’t implement effective wellbeing effort without monitoring the mental health and wellbeing of their workers over extended time periods. Getting a sense of what’s been going on with workers is the only way to direct resources properly, to maintain and improve wellbeing. Wellbeing management platforms must, therefore, be able to send workers Mental Health Questionnaires. That way organisations have appropriate context, informing them how best to support workers.
A promised reduction in safety risk didn’t materialise in 2021. Nor should we expect it in the new year.
Instead, organisations should get serious about building and reinforcing their safety and wellbeing cultures in the face of the roiling mental health crisis, by investing in wellbeing management solutions. To learn more about the capabilities that matter most, download our Buyer’s Guide to Wellbeing Management Software.