Rapid heartbeat, frustration, stomach knots – chances are you’ve experienced these symptoms in stressful situations, and that’s perfectly normal. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge and can help you meet a deadline or avoid danger. In short bursts it can be a positive motivator, but what happens when stress persists? Stress can lead to several health conditions, and with all the stressors the pandemic has brought to light, stress management and healthy working environments have become more important than ever. Let’s take a look at how artificial intelligence can help alleviate stress and equip businesses to minimise workplace stress.
According to the World Health Organization, the average employee loses 7.1 days owing to exceptional levels of stress at work. Stress can cause a decline in employee productivity, attrition and unity among your workforce, and can also be linked to mental health issues in 35% of high-stress instances. It’s no secret that employee morale is directly linked to employee productivity, and when looking at the effects stress can have on your workforce, it’s clear that businesses should make it a priority to create healthy working environments and equip employees with the necessary tools to deal with stress more efficiently.
Face-to-face interactions with employees give management insight into employee health, but keeping track of employee wellbeing while remote workforces are on the rise can be challenging – and that’s where AI tools come in handy.
Reducing employee workloads can have a tremendous impact on stress levels and free up their schedules to focus on tasks that AI cannot automate. According to Forbes, 72% of working professionals attribute low stress levels to productivity boosting tools and tech, while 64% agree that automation technology helps reduce workload and workplace stress. Employees are welcoming AI-powered automation technology as it will help them work more effectively and reduce stress. According to a study by Verint, there is a strong correlation between technology in the workplace and employee stress levels, signalling that AI automation technology might just be the first step towards ensuring employee happiness.
Well-being technology powered by AI relies on emotion recognition and stress sensors to monitor and improve employee health. Although this technology is still relatively new, AI-enabled wearables focused on emotional wellbeing gather a variety of cues such as eye movements and facial expressions to help employees improve their decision making and alleviate stress.
Cogito, a Boston-based software company, has adapted their AI coaching system enabling supervisors to virtually “walk” call centre floors and monitor call centre agent behaviour. Cogito analyses calls and alerts supervisors when a team member is struggling with tasks, could use additional support to reduce fatigue, or needs an intervention to avoid burnout. Adoption of emotion-sensing AI tools will become a necessity in the near future, helping employees transform their unhealthy working patterns and avoid stress-related health issues.
Mental health chatbots and workplace stress management apps are gaining momentum as businesses are starting to realise the benefits of using cognitive insights to lower employee stress levels and boost productivity. BioBeats, a London-based health tech company, uses AI to demystify the connection between mental and physical health by combining their app and wearable sensors to identify individual stressors, helping employees track their psychological reaction to stress and develop new habits. The BioBase application works with a wearable called BioBeam and collects passive data to develop AI-powered personalised courses to determine what employees need to work on in order to keep their stress levels low.
Occasionally regarded as an encouraging guest, stress can quickly mutate into an unwelcome roommate. Dealing with work-related stress in addition to a myriad of other stressors can lead to a deterioration in mental and physical health, but hopefully AI will continue to redefine healthy working environments and reshape the face of employee wellbeing.