The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore three areas of wellbeing: physical, mental and social. In the early 1970s, wellness was thought of as a lack of illness, the absence of symptoms of disease indicated that we were well. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines wellness as “a state of composite physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely as absence of any disease or infirmity.” When we blend wellness with today’s digital technologies such as automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and augmented reality (AR), the potential results are both extensive and exciting.
Mental wellness, a relatively underplayed concept, has been brought to the fore amid recent emerging statistics in the organizational context:
- 79% of employees have experienced stress at work during the last 12 months.
- 45% of employees have considered leaving a job due to the stress it has created.
- Employees who participated in social or community activities regularly saw a ~20% increase in their productivity
- ~49% of employees think their line managers would be unable to relate to them even if they spoke to them about a mental issue.
A significant collection of organizations have realized this burgeoning importance of ensuring mental wellness for their employees, prompted in part by the importance of these statistics:
- 72% of employees want to see their employers advocate for mental health and well-being in the workplace.
- $7-10 million is the amount absenteeism costs employers per salaried employee annually; this cost jumps to $3,600 for each hourly employee.
- Studies estimate that every $1 spent on improving treatment for common mental disorders generates a return of $3-5 in improved health and productivity, i.e. a 3X-5X return.
- 400 million is the number of workdays lost globally each year due to depression alone.
Understanding mental health with a typical user journey
Now let’s relate the concept of mental health with a typical user journey -- Mr.X., an employee with multiple layered characteristics -- as we attempt to solve his issues by marrying psychology (mental wellness) and technology (digital) in Figure 1, titled “User Journey of MR X.”