Whilst social media and too much screen time can increase the risk of depression and anxiety,
technology can also have positive outcomes on our mental wellbeing too - even in our busy digital world. Many us will be familiar and fond of clever apps like Headspace, Calm and Stop, Breathe & Think which can offer support with a number of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The main cause of stress for adults in the UK is their career and work environment, as a recent study by Perkbox highlighted. Alarmingly, over 20% of employees experience moderate-to-high levels of stress at work several times a week. Although studies have shown that happiness in a job is essential to employee productivity; 2 out of 5 employees work harder if they’re happy at work (One4all).
Below is a guide to how UK SMEs can use technology to help manage stress and make employees happier at work:
Productivity is key in business right now, especially as many SMEs in the UK have reduced the size of their teams, and it is often driven by technological advances. Artificial intelligence (AI) is driving efficiencies in many sectors by removing the need for manual, repetitive and time-consuming tasks to be managed by employees. SMEs that require a lot of manual data input could save hours and huge costs by using technology that now comes as standard in many of the latest versions of software solutions that the employees use daily, such as financial systems or CRM solution.
Additionally, recent research by Randstad found that one of the main factors to employee satisfaction is having the latest digital and technology tools.
Engaging intranet platforms
Depending on your company size and how many remote workers you have being able to consistently engage with your employees is very important; 21% of businesses cite low engagement amongst frontline staff as a barrier, while 78% believe connecting with those employees is the key to success (Harvard Business Review).
While the statistics supporting remote working for employees are endless, with improved
satisfaction, increased productivity and a better work-life balance just a few of the benefits, it can be easy for those workers to feel out of the loop with the office and company culture; 21% report feeling lonely and struggle with communication.
UK SMEs are using intranet and communication platforms to help bring those remote employees into the fold. By keeping up to date with key business updates and more informal topics, remote workers feel like they’re truly a part of your organisation’s culture. You can use this space to share social media feeds, event details or even take the opportunity to publish focus pieces on those remote workers to introduce them to the rest of your workforce.
Time management tools
Longer working hours are becoming a widespread issue especially as more people work from home and many companies have reduced employee numbers mean more work. Employees feel obligated to either work longer hours or to be contactable and working outside of hours, with 50% of people checking their emails outside of work (Dissent).
Time management can help employees feel more in control of their workload and can reduce the pressure they feel to work longer hours. Ultimately, management must play a role in helping employees to reduce extensive working hours, but workers can proactively take steps to support themselves.
There’s a wide range of time management tools available either standalone and for free, or as part of a business software package like Office 365, that can help workers manage their time more effectively. From personal to-do lists to more comprehensive team or business-wide solutions where tasks can be assigned with a deadline and space for updates, the sky is the limit. A long-term dedication from businesses stress, and in particular workplace stress, is a complex beast that won’t be solved with one solution.
In addition to using technology to manage stress, employees must be supported by their managers and businesses. But, amidst all of the headlines that identify technology as a killer of productivity and mental health, it’s reassuring that it can also be used to vastly improve them, too.
Article produced by Natasha Bougourd from TSG, a managed IT support