82% of people believe that robots could support their mental health better than humans. A surprising statistic from a study of 12,000 employees..
A study of more than 12,000 employees, managers and more found that across 11 countries, just 18% of individuals would prefer humans over robots to support their mental health.
The lack of judgement from a robot and quick answers were cited as the top reasons for preferring robots. Notably, 68% of people said they would prefer to speak to a robot over their manager about workplace stress and anxiety.
The Impact of The Global Coronavirus
Unsurprisingly, the global coronavirus has exacerbated workplace mental health issues. Especially as 85% of respondents said that issues at work had effected their home life.
Sleep deprivation (40%), poor physical health (35%), reduced happiness at home (33%), suffering family relationships (30%) and isolation from friends (28%) were identified as the most common repercussions of mental health struggles.
The study also highlighted that employees are looking for employers to provide better mental health support. Markedly, 76% of respondents felt their company should be doing more to protect their mental health, including digital tech to support.
The UK Prime Minister recently announced new COVID-19 restrictions in England – including changing work from home guidance. Consequently, it is crucial for the HR function to consider how they can continue to support employees through this difficult time.
How Can HR Mitigate Some of These Challenges?
As Shoesmith has acknowledged, all of these issues become a cause of concern for the HR function. Though, she explained that there are ways that people teams can mitigate the impacts of some of these challenges. Hence, keeping dialogue open in a variety of channels (such as employee surveys, line managers and Mental Health First Aiders) is key.
Sharing and educating staff on the resources available to them such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) is a good way to provide stability for staff.
Additionally, Praising and reassuring staff can have a positive impact on productivity and employee wellbeing. HR teams should be working with management teams to find new ways to thank staff.