Every company should, from time to time, run mental health assessments both on individual staff and the company as whole. Thing is, knowing you should do something and actually doing it are two very different things. Aside from the fact that mental health can be tough subject to broach, some companies might feel they simply don’t have the resources to do a thorough mental health assessment.
One thing that might make things a little easier is technology. After all, it already plays a significant role in measuring physical health in the workplace. There are also a number of new tracking technologies that aim to use physical symptoms and user input to measure individual mental health.
But does that mean it should be rolled out in the workplace?
In the consumer space, recent years have seen the launch of several wearables aimed at tracking mental health.
The Altruis X, for instance, is a wrist-mounted wearable that combines physical readings such as your heart rate, perspiration, respiration, and temperature with contextual data from your smartphone to give you information about your mental health.
Insights from the wearable might include things like:
- “According to your data, you sleep 39% better when you don’t check your emails after 7pm.”
- “Did you know that on the days you meditate first thing in the morning, you spend an average of 23% less time on your phone, and are 17% more physically active?”
- “We’ve noticed that when you listen to jazz music on your commute home, you report feeling 35% less stressed at the end of the day.”
- “According to your data, the optimal time for you to meditate is between 3 and 4:30pm. You reach stillness 3.4x as quickly, and report feeling ‘calm’ 2.1x more often.”
- “Did you know that on the days you see your Dad, you report feeling 33% less stressed and 12% more creative?”
Providing such a device to your workers would certainly signal that you care about their mental health.
It may also make your staff more aware of their own mental health, which is good. Try and implement it by force though and you risk breaching a slew of personal privacy regulations.
One possible way to gain insights is to allow for self-reporting, but taking that approach doesn’t guarantee you’ll get an accurate gauge of mental health within the company as a whole.
The Big Picture
When it comes to getting an overview of mental health within the company, you can go with anonymous online surveys, although the time they take means you can only realistically push out a few every year.
Moreover, it takes time to sift through the data and figure out how to take action based on it.
If you want something more immediate, then something like the cloud-connected device created by Celpax might be more up your street.
Rather than asking a series of questions, the device simply requires workers to press either a red button (for unhappy) or a green button (for happy). An online dashboard then gives you the results.
Using the results, you can go in and fix what makes employees press red.
The appeal of something like the Celpax device is that you can install multiple devices in different parts of the company.
That allows you to drill down on where the biggest unhappiness is in the company.
Thing is, it’s still down to you to drill down and find out what the actual problem is.
The role of tech
And that’s pretty much the bottom-line when it comes to using technology to assess mental health in the workplace. It can point you in a direction, but it can’t tell you anything exacting about individual employees or the company as a whole.
When it does come time to bring in human help though, you’re a lot less likely to be stumbling around blind.