If talking about mental health in society is still a taboo, it is a topic in the workplace that can be linked to fear. Although companies are more interested in the topic, some employees still fear communicating problems to leaders for fear of showing weakness. “Mental health has attracted the attention of companies in this pandemic because it is in line with global goals. Today, there is talk of business sustainability related to environmental issues, but sustainability is also linked to the emotional health of employees, who will ensure business success,” says psychologist Anna Carolina Baker.
Despite this, she claims, the psychosocial risks of working out are still not widespread. These factors are determined by the probability that a worker will experience psychological harm, related or not associated with physical harm, due to exposure to a hazardous work situation. It can range from safety (a person performing hazardous activities), through health, working conditions and relationships between colleagues.
If, on the one hand, there are leaders and companies who are still learning how to deal with mental health, and on the other hand, employees who avoid expressing their feelings, technology can help. Startup Bee Touch, founded by Peuker and computer scientist Felipe Scuciatto, develops technology solutions that help businesses and professionals take care of their well-being.
“The great advantage that technology brings is behaving in a predictive manner, anticipating potential risks for mental illness and allowing the root of problems to be diagnosed,” she says. One of the company’s innovations is the Avax Psi platform, which performs psychological assessments based on data science to identify psychosocial risks at work.
The psychologist highlights that the resource differs from other AIs that identify symptoms, which she considers a reactive approach to working in already pathological conditions. The product is developed for companies and can be customized according to the reality and needs of each location, since there are some risks and pressures inherent in some professions. In addition to occupational health and safety indicators, the tool addresses individual issues, past and present history.
“We assess mental illness, family history, cognitive functioning, and how a person is from a care point of view. The platform has psychological tests and it all depends on the role it plays,” Becker explains.
The methodology follows three aspects recommended by the International Labor Organization (ILO): organization, content and work context. In each category, there are a series of aspects to analyze, such as peer support, whether it is a competitive environment, the degree of responsibility, decision-making authority, and whether it suffers from bias, among others.
All questions are evaluated through a form that is answered anonymously by company employees. The table aggregates the results into graphs so that the manager has an analytical view of the scenario. The startup also sends out a technical report with critical points analysis and a business plan for each. With this said, it is possible to work with continuous improvement cycles within the work environment.
stress level free trial
Another tool developed by Bee Touch, and freely accessible online, is Stressometer, which assesses your stress level based on scientific studies. Since mental illness is still a target of social stigma, the idea was to create a more fun and necessary resource for fostering commitment. “We decided to create this thermometer as a way to show the importance of identifying and monitoring sources of stress for people getting help,” Becker explains. The tool can also be used by companies with the possibility of adaptation according to their respective realities.
The test asks the user to report how many times in the past month they have felt upset about something unexpected, unable to control important things or feeling confident about facing problems. There is also a list of factors to note that can be a source of stress: work, health, money, prejudice, sleep, and the political climate. “Stress gauge is when a person has experience observing symptoms of subjective stress. There is no point in knowing you are stressed without knowing the cause.”
Work management for mental health
Overtime at work, back-to-back meetings and unused time in activities can, in principle, be evaluated for the purposes of running the work. Understanding and monitoring routines helps managers avoid business risks, for example. That’s why Fhinck developed artificial intelligence, installed in a computer, that translates times and movements into data.
Using it, it is possible to find out if the employee is working a lot, taking a lunch break or if he is wasting time on tasks. Under the pandemic, the company has identified, in a base of 17 clients, a 12% increase in average hours worked, as well as a 27% risk of increased burnout in senior and leadership positions. The mix of chores between work and personal activities also increased by 17%. On the other hand, a 22% increase in focus was observed on home offices.
“Over time, we began to see that the tool not only looks at processes, but also how powerful the data is in terms of people analytics. We finished developing our appearance, and with the data, we understood habits better,” explains Paolo Castillo, founder of the startup.
More than understanding technical skills—such as knowing who knows more shortcuts in a given program—the tool identifies behaviors that are more harmful to physical and mental health, especially when considering the home office. The program is adapted to the company and the job the person performs, indicating the start of the day, lunch break and closing.
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