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AI Employee Wellbeing

4 Ways AI Can Be Utilised for Enhancing Employee Wellbeing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being integrated into the workplace, leading to the emergence of new roles such as “AI leader” and “AI colleague”. The contributions of AI in raising employee productivity have been widely recognised, primarily due to its advanced algorithms and expansive databases, which streamline work processes.

In recent years, as the importance of employee wellbeing in the workplace has grown, employers have sought to leverage the capabilities of AI to protect and enhance the welfare of their workforce. The concept of an “AI healer” is currently in development. Some employers may harbour concerns regarding the cost of implementing high-tech solutions within the workplace. As such, this article not only aims to evaluate how AI could improve employees’ wellbeing across four key dimensions, but also why the integration of AI-driven healing practices represents a highly cost-effective approach.

AI Employee Wellbeing

1. Personalised Wellness Recommendations

Wellbeing-focused webinars and training courses have become common activities for companies seeking to promote employee wellness. However, the efficacy of such initiatives is often questionable, as these generalised programnes may struggle to address the unique challenges faced by each employee.

Fortunately, the proliferation of AI-driven tools has introduced new opportunities to evaluate physical and mental wellbeing with greater precision. Innovative AI-driven applications, such as Headspace, can deliver personalised mindfulness and stress management practices to help alleviate team members’ anxiety and tension. Similarly, AI-powered cameras like Knowella can analyse employees’ working postures and provide real-time, tailored recommendations for adjustments. These AI tools leverage their extensive databases to evaluate individual situations, and subsequently provide users with the most relevant information and recommendations.

While the initial monetary investment required to provide such AI-driven services to employees may not be insubstantial, companies stand to reap long-term benefits. By empowering staff to better understand their (often unspoken) challenges, and equipping them with personalised recommendations for positive change, organisations can foster an environment of clarity and optimism.

Ultimately, the development of an “AI healer” capability represents a highly cost-effective proposition. By addressing the specific needs of each employee, companies can maximise the impact and return on investment of their wellbeing initiatives, leading to heightened productivity, morale, and organisational success.

2. Convenient & Confidential Mental Support

Traditional wellbeing-focused programmes are often confined to specific, predetermined moments. As a result, employees must wait for the wellness services provided by their employer, which may exacerbate the severity of their challenges.

The emergence of conversational AI has the potential to ease this problem. AI-powered services can be made available around the clock, providing 24/7 support. Intelligent chatbots and virtual assistants, such as Woebot, are designed to guide staff through personalised coping strategies tailored to their individual needs and preferences. Employees no longer need to solely rely on their employer’s wellness guidance to address their wellbeing concerns. Instead, by leveraging the flexible services provided by their company, staff can receive more timely support.

By investing in AI-driven 24/7 wellness solutions, organisations can empower employees to address problems at the earliest possible stage. This not only prevents higher costs associated with delayed intervention, but also mitigates potential declines in overall organisational productivity.

3. Optimised Workload Management

Excessively high workloads can induce significant stress among employees, leaving them with insufficient time to rest and perpetuating a state of perpetual tension – a detrimental outcome for both physical and mental wellbeing.

However, the integration of AI holds promise as a means of addressing this challenge. AI systems are capable of analysing task urgencies and importance, and subsequently providing guidance to help individuals complete their responsibilities in the most efficient manner possible. For instance, tools like Trello can assist both employees and employers in organising and prioritising tasks, while also offering recommendations for effective time management.

It is foreseeable that workload management under the supervision of AI can effectively ensure the maximum number of tasks are completed, while simultaneously safeguarding employee wellbeing. In this manner, organisations can achieve the dual objectives of enhanced productivity and the promotion of staff health and contentment.

4. Better Allocation of Resources

In addition to providing employees with direct guidance to enhance their wellbeing, AI can also be leveraged by companies to develop a deeper understanding of their workforce – a capability that is invaluable in allocating resources effectively to protect and improve employee welfare.

The policies adopted by an organisation are inherently intertwined with the wellbeing of its employees. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, employee wellbeing can only be enhanced if companies are able to accurately identify and fulfill the unique needs of their staff. To formulate effective wellbeing-oriented policies, organizations must first cultivate a comprehensive understanding of their workforce.

By employing AI-powered tools, companies can more easily gather, organise, and analyse employee information – a process that enables them to make informed, data-driven decisions. For instance, Microsoft has established an AI-powered “Wellbeing Dashboard” to assist in strategising employee wellbeing initiatives by identifying employees’ needs, challenges, priorities, and success criteria, thereby transforming these insights into opportunities for positive change.

As a result, companies are better positioned to judiciously allocate their resources in support of employee wellbeing. In the long run, this can significantly mitigate the costs associated with the misuse or misallocation of organisational resources.

Conclusion

By providing personalised information and insights, AI-powered systems enable employers to better understand and cater to the unique needs of their workforce promptly. Most crucially, the integration of AI to improve employee wellbeing should be viewed as a highly cost-effective investment for organisations. When executed thoughtfully, such initiatives can yield significant long-term benefits that far outweigh the initial implementation costs.

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