There are so many tools to the trade of running a company. There are components that can improve productivity, engagement with the customer, and generally everything that relates to the more external aspects. But when we’re trying to make a business function with more clarity and purpose, we may have to look inward. Technology can work on so many levels, but now we can use this to improve well-being in so many different ways. How can we do this, and what is out there?
The Well-being Platforms
These are the most prominent. These platforms have been around for many years, and simpler components have been found within standard employee benefit platforms, but now, you can find many an employee assistance program that incorporates various workforce monitoring tools. Virtual health care components are essential for the well-being of an employee, but now, there are many intertwining sections between workplace platforms and monitoring tools, as well as wearable trackers. Wearable tools can provide unique insight into an individual employee but also, there are tools to allow staff to manage data on how people look at their working environment and provide real-time feedback. There are many individual organizations that provide their own platforms; for example, in the UK, the insurer AXA has their own PPP Health Gateway. Well-being platforms have been around for some time, but as the integration with wearable monitoring tools, as well as a more holistic approach, this can ensure better well-being for an average employee.
As stress is the biggest killer of the modern working environment, managing it can’t just be done through employee wellness programs, but also, technology can provide an entryway into an individual’s predilection for stress. Heart rate variability training has been shown to work for those high-powered business owners, by very simply monitoring the physiological phenomenon in between heartbeats. The basic heart rate variability monitor can you download it onto an app, where you are able to see how your physiology is responding to the stress around it. From there, you can start to work at calming yourself down, right there and then. This provides a fascinating insight because, for all of the approaches to maintaining wellness throughout an organization, including mindfulness or meditation, heart rate variability (and the heart rate variability training that can be undertaken in line with this) gives workers an opportunity to “hack” their stress. They can instantly see if their body is reacting with calmness or anxiety. This encourages workers to better realize their own responses to stress, and whether the fight or flight reaction kicks in. As heart rate variability machines come in unique shapes and forms, this can give the average employee time to realize how stressed they are, but also, as the machine shows them when they are calm, and gives people the ability to track their progress, it’s a far more efficient way to a Zen-like state.
Developing Emotional Resilience
Emotional resilience is a very interesting thing to monitor, especially via an app, because it’s not just a way to see how you react to something, but there are numerous tools out there being developed to improve wellness in the workplace. Digital coaching is an interesting component, specifically the Emoquo app. The purpose of this app is to develop emotional resilience in the workplace and features advice from therapists and life coaches to help people deal with workplace issues. It spans the entire range of workplace problems, such as being micromanaged, feeling undermined, and goes all the way through to the more serious instances, like harassment. This app also offers a heatmap, showing an anonymised picture of how employees are coping emotionally. This is then translated into a score and highlights to employees if anything is going wrong, and as such, the app brings up scenarios in response to this.
Do We Need Another Meditation App?
As meditation apps are in their abundance is it really necessary to have any more for the sake of employee wellness? As the vast majority of healthcare is reactive, rather than preventative, the implementation of meditation apps like Headspace may prove to be the best medicine. The big issue with this is that it needs to be integrated into a company’s culture in an organic matter. And even then, it’s up to the employee if they should use it or not. Targeting employee wellness is an essential component for the modern holistic oriented business, but it’s not enough to have a meditation app thrust upon you. The [email protected] app, developed by Wisdom Labs, offers various mindfulness practices provided by teachers of meditation, but also expands to other topics like developing healthy habits, as well as leading mindfully, as well as how to live a healthier lifestyle. Tackling these issues helps to reduce stress in a different way; rather than treating the symptoms, it addresses the cause, namely inflammation and anxiety. It is a daily practice, and this is something that we have to address if we are to improve our workers’ health. Even those businesses out there looking at developing an app in-house, it’s worth taking inspiration from the overall approach to well-being. Meditation won’t provide the answer, and while there are interesting apps out there that focus on box breathing and general calmness through the breath, it’s about a combination of therapies, because each employee is different.
Technology can bridge the gap between employee productivity and employee health. Even with the best will in the world, a lot of wellness programs can fall flat. Usually, this is because they tackle large problems, thinking it solves everything, such as diet and exercise. But, the overriding approach to these programs needs to encompass a diverse range of methods. From meditation to mindfulness, from heart rate variability to a wellbeing platform as well as a coach to help employees navigate their day-to-day challenges, technology can be the most important aspect of improving health throughout any company. As wellness is a priority right now, it’s vital that we make the right choices.