- There’s a huge yet currently untapped opportunity to use technology to improve wellness at work.
- Healthtech has the potential to transform workplace wellness; one major benefit is that it enables the same support for both in-office and remote workers.
- Access to resources, better communication, and the use of ‘telemedicine’ are just three ways healthtech can transform our wellbeing.
Technology has been making leaps and bounds over the past several years; it’s disrupted industries, transformed jobs, and created new opportunities. The more organizations have deployed technology, the more people feel comfortable using it and the more they trust it.
It’s one of the reasons why fears about robots taking our jobs have decreased in recent years. People have realized that emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence, will not make humans obsolete, but rather improve our capacity.
But there’s one organizational area where technology has not yet been fully embraced and deployed: wellbeing at work.
One of the main reasons behind this is people fear their privacy is potentially more at risk and that they will be heavily monitored by their employers. But the benefits could potentially far outweigh the risks, especially if privacy and data security policies are in place.
Healthtech can improve efficiency of wellness programs, it can make wellness programs more accessible for remote workers, it can provide valuable insights, it can help identify gaps, and it can drive targeted actions.
In other words, healthtech has the potential to transform and enhance workplace wellness.
3 Ways Technology Can Improve Wellness Initiatives
1. Improve Communication and Access to Resources
Artificial intelligence platforms can make it easier for employees to communicate with one another, with employers, and with company executives; this is especially true for organizations that also hire part-time and remote workers.
Communication is a key element of a healthy, happy, and productive organization. Technology powered platforms can help improve communication by increasing engagement and they can help identify any flags that could potentially lead to a rise in stress levels, isolation, or burnout.
Beyond improving communication, technology can also make information and resources readily available for employees, regardless of whether they work from home or in the office. Access to resources can improve wellbeing by providing timely information, connecting employees with a provider, and finding programs that will be better suited to their personal needs.
Access to information can be particularly useful for employees who are seeking mental health help, especially if they don’t yet feel comfortable directly talking about it with their peers or managers. Technology can also make it easier for workers to find relevant information about how to cope with stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression, among others, while remaining anonymous.
2. The Rise of Telemedicine
Powered by emerging technologies, telemedicine has been shown to offer various benefits to workers. Mostly, telemedicine has been used to follow-up with patients, do routine checkups of chronic conditions, and provide specialty services and treatments (interpretation of laboratories, imaging results, etc.).
There are two main ways that telemedicine is contributing to workplace wellness.
The first one is that it is making it easier for workers to seek help while balancing it with their workload. Many healthcare providers offer telemedicine services even outside of traditional business hours, which means that workers don’t have to miss work in order to get a checkup. This means that they’re getting the care they need, but they are also eliminating a potential source of stress: missing work or reducing their hours.
The second is that it can help improve employee decision making when it comes to seeking care for small things as well as larger issues. This means that workers are more likely to get the help they need from the beginning, rather than waiting to address an issue that could potentially get worse with time.
One last advantage, remote workers can also take advantage of telemedicine, meaning that benefits for in-office and remote workers will be the same.
3. Promotes Healthier Lifestyles
Technologies like wearable devices can help promote healthier lifestyles.
Devices such as the FitBit or smart watches that remind people to stand up and walk, drink water, and monitor sleep patterns have the potential to drive healthier lifestyles and help individuals make better, healthier choices for themselves.
These devices, depending on their features, can also provide a more complete view of an individual’s health by monitoring heart rate, conducting temperature checks, and monitoring breathing rate. Having access to this information can help workers make important decisions, such as whether they should go to the office or instead stay home and avoid spreading illness.