The COVID-19 pandemic caused so much strain in the economy and stress in the workforce. Employers may need to look at the findings of the new study of Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, an HR research and advisory firm, which shows how the current situation affected people’s mental health.
The study of more than 12,000 employees, managers, HR leaders, and C-level executives across 11 countries found that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased workplace stress, anxiety, and burnout for people all around the world, and they prefer robots instead of other people to help.
Judging by the digital solutions and services that have become essential tools during the pandemic, it is no doubt that technology helped the world navigate the new way of living: living with an unseen and highly contagious virus that has claimed thousands of lives.
Exposure to the latest technologies and solutions led to 82% respondents to believe that robots can support their mental health better than humans saying that “robots provide a judgment-free zone (34%), an unbiased outlet to share problems (30%), and quick answers to health-related questions (29%).
“There is a lot that can be done to support the mental health of the global workforce and there are so many ways that technology like AI can help,” said Emily He, SVP, Oracle Cloud HCM. “But first, organizations need to add mental health to their agenda. If we can get these conversations started — both at an HR and an executive-level — we can begin to make some change. And the time is now.”
The study finds 83% of the global workforce would like their company to provide technology to support their mental health, including self-service access to health resources (36%), on-demand counseling services (35%), proactive health monitoring tools (35%), access to wellness or meditation apps (35%), and chatbots to answer health-related questions (28%).
People want more from technology than collaboration tools and instead want technology to support their mental health. About 68% of people would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work and 80% of people are open to having a robot as a therapist or counselor.
About 75% say AI (artificial intelligence) has helped their mental health at work. The top benefits noted were providing the information needed to do their job more effectively (31%), automating tasks and decreasing workload to prevent burnout (27%), and reducing stress by helping to prioritize tasks (27%).
AI has also helped the majority (51%) of workers shorten their workweek and allowed them to take longer vacations (51%). Over half of respondents say AI technology increases employee productivity (63%), improves job satisfaction (54%) and improves overall well-being (52%).
Research findings are based on a survey conducted by Savanta Inc. between July 16 and Aug. 4, 2020. The global respondents come from the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, Germany, India, Japan, China, Brazil, and Korea who were asked general questions to explore leadership and employee attitudes around mental health, artificial intelligence technology, digital assistants, chatbots and robots in the workplace.