How technology and AI is supporting wellness around the world
AI is having an increasingly significant impact and reach all the time, often designed not just to make our lives easier but also to make them better. This includes tech directly targeted for the consumer, the medical profession itself, and also for within the workplace. Leading tech organisations are embedding effective AI into their infrastructures to support their employees’ wellbeing with exceptional results!
AI in healthcare includes advances in diagnostic testing and care, for consumers it means taking better control of their physical and mental wellbeing. The latter is extended to the workplace, where conversations about mental wellbeing in particular are far more open than they used to be, and where employers recognise they have a duty of care to employees. Not only that, happier employees naturally perform better at work, so optimising health and wellbeing is of benefit to the business as well as the individual.
What forms does wellness ‘AI’ take in the workplace?
There are a number of ways employers can utilise AI to help employee wellness, from tech designed to monitor and offer help for wellbeing, such as fitness AI and AI in mental health, to systems designed to improve workflow and time management with the aim of reducing pressure on employees and increasing fulfilment in the workplace.
AI allows the opportunity for employees to monitor and feedback their feelings. Although AI ‘bots’ are removed from direct human connection they can actually offer employees the opportunity to be more direct. It can be tricky for employees to speak up about mental health pressures to HR, their line managers, or even colleagues, or they might feel that admitting to struggling may make them vulnerable. AI bots that can check in with employees about their wellbeing naturally means discretion, therefore employees are perhaps more likely to be honest about how they really feel.
Honest Burgers has embraced technology and bots in its people strategy by using Workplace From Facebook, which is not only intended to encourage workers to engage with their colleagues and feel part of a community, but also to improve their job.
Fitness AI at work can help track and improve fitness levels, for example by reminding employees of the number of steps they have taken, encouraging them to move from their desks if they haven’t in a while. Businesses can offer AI personal trainers as an employee perk, benefiting the employee both within and outside office hours. Not only will this improve the physical and mental wellbeing of your workforce, it can also be harnessed as a company-wide initiative, gamified and used as a team building exercise – pun intended!
Professional services firm, PwC, has harnessed AI and fitness-tracking wearables to gain a deeper understanding of how work and external stressors are impacting employees’ state of mind.
Humu, run by three ex-Google employees in California, uses AI to ‘nudge’ people into being happier at work. Humu’s software monitors data from employee surveys to determine how each worker is doing.
Embedding these kinds of initiatives into your company culture will also have far-reaching effects on your employer branding, helping you not only take care of and retain the staff you have, but helping to attract high-calibre talent in the future.
AI for workflow and time management
Employees are used to using software across the whole business, AI offers dashboards specifically tailored to them by understanding their particular role and related workflow. Understanding specific roles and tasks means AI can intuitively understand what needs to be prioritised, ordering tasks in a way that helps the employee get through them more efficiently. This will not only boost productivity but can benefit their wellbeing, for example scheduling ‘easier’ tasks after undertaking something particularly challenging or intensive.
AI managing workflow takes the pressure off the employee having to work it out themselves. It means employees are better able to stick to their scheduled work times, so there is less chance of overworking, burnout and stress.
AI marketing firm, Blackbelt, uses Allocate time tracking, which allows the company to monitor and track employees’ computer activity autonomously allowing them to see where workflow and time management could be improved.
As with other areas of our lives, AI has the power to support and improve employee performance, wellbeing and satisfaction. There is a circle effect in offering AI tools to support employees – its potential to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, its existence lets them know the business cares about their wellbeing and the resulting increased levels of satisfaction increases both their longevity and productivity in the role.