10 October, 2020

Technology can be used to support managerial best practices to resolve mental health issues in the workplace. Employers are developing a huge interest in incorporating digital health strategies to promote employer mental health.

For example, virtual reality (VR) technology which was previously employed by psychotherapists is now been used in corporate human resources units. Companies in Spain have begun to sign up to Psious, a technology which uses VR and augmented reality (AR) to help solve mental health issues ranging from anxiety disorders to phobias. Psious can be used as exposure therapy - AR is used to show spiders to someone who is afraid of them, without actually showing a live one or rely on imagination.

Clevr is another VR tech innovation created to treat social phobias and provide guided meditation via virtual reality. A number of apps and online services have launched to provide workers with effective solutions for their mental and physical health. One of these is Tictrac which works by providing users with information about their lifestyle and physical health. Such information includes the number of steps taken or the number of hours slept in a day.

This data, which are collected by the app from devices such as Fitbits and Runkeepers, can be used by the user or their physicians to create strategies for better health. 

Other apps have been specially designed to meet workplace needs. One of these is Remente, a goal-setting app which was created by its CEO to solve his own work-related stress. The app provides self-help information and offers advice and guidance based on cognitive behavioral therapy.

In addition, it helps users to assess their mood, set goals for the day, and set longer-term goals. This leads to better employee work-life balance, work performance, and boosts employee happiness. Innovations in wearable technologies that help workers with anxiety, bipolar disorders, and depression have gained popularity in workplace wellness programs. AffecTech is one of such projects that create wearable devices to help employees improve their mental health.

Justworks, a platform which provides employers with HR resources and payroll services, has incorporated round-the-clock mental health counseling services with certified therapists for employees. This is similar to what is offered on Ginger.io which connects workers to licensed professionals. While many tech models have been built to provide solutions to employee mental health issues, many have expressed concern about possible dangers of this trend.

But we could also note that these smartphone technologies may replace helpful social support such as spending time with loved ones. As tech companies create more ways for improving the health of users through innovative strategies and platforms, employees can now manage mental health issues in a more personalized way.

However, employees and employers are advised to strike a balance in their use of technology to promote mental health to avoid over dependence on technology at the expense of human support.