Anxiety and depression arising from work-related stress is a global pandemic. Employers are subsequently being prompted to introduce initiatives that cater for the health and wellbeing of staff. Statistics produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that 526,000 employees in the UK suffered from work-related stress in 2016/17, resulting in a loss of 12.5m working days a year.
Wellbeing falls into several categories; emotional and mental stability, physical wellness, and the overall enjoyment of individuals within the workplace. Creating an environment in which employees feel valued, engaged and happy can also make them more productive.
A survey undertaken by the American Psychology Association showed that employees that feel valued are more motivated at work, and also feel better in other aspects of their life. Employees who have good mental, emotional and physical health are more likely to be committed to their jobs, call in sick less often and stay with the company for longer.
Providing a supportive environment with a focus on wellbeing can pay dividends for companies. When packaged with other typical benefits such as pension and bonuses, employees are more inclined to give their all and stay loyal to the company.
Applications and Tools that Enhance Employee Wellbeing
In recent years, a spate of digital healthcare apps have been introduced to help HR officials manage the health and wellbeing of employees. This new breed of wellness apps are not only designed to deliver benefits for employees, but also employers.
This year, we are starting to see more wellbeing apps that use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR and AR is having a significant impact in the healthcare industry and is now expanding into other areas of everyday life.
The fitness industry was a frontrunner in adopting digital technologies as a commercial commodity. More recently, mental health practitioners have been developing VR apps to treat patients. Wellbeing apps that cater for business environments combine both fitness and mental health applications. Yet despite the obvious benefits of wellbeing apps, some employees will resist the introduction of new technologies. This is nothing new.
Studies have shown that when new technologies are introduced into the workplace, they are met with hesitance. Wellbeing apps may appear like an intrusion into the personal life of your employees. According to Dr. Saskia Bayerl of RSM Discovery, decisions about technology in the workplace are made on a rational basis. And employees will have different rationale. To overcome resistance, wellbeing tools have to be marketed to employees in order for them to find something to like about the apps.
For example, you could launch the new apps by holding an event to showcase the apps and explain the benefits. Staff will also need training to use the apps. This presents executives with another opportunity to underscore the positives.
The best way to convince employees that wellbeing apps are a positive step for them and the company, is to create content using VR and AR that can be used in marketing exercises and within the apps themselves.
How Can VR and AR Impact Wellbeing Apps?
VR and AR are powerful formats which can be used to explain wellbeing apps in great detail. For example, we can create VR content that shows the positive effects exercise has on the body. Likewise, we can also reveal potential problems that can arise when people do not exercise.
Another app that is highly beneficial to corporate environments is the virtual coach app. This application aims to inspire and motivate employees to increase productivity and meet their targets.