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On Tuesday 22 September, Boris Johnson addressed the nation with new coronavirus guidelines as the UK’s alert was upgraded to level 4. As well as nationwide curfews for hospitality venues and new rules for face coverings, the Prime Minister advised that people should work from home again where possible.
Businesses up and down the country will be considering the impact this new instruction will have, and the impact on any health, safety and well-being strategies. With the pandemic showing no sign of ending soon, it’s more important than ever that organisations find new ways of giving staff members a voice, and a method of providing real-time feedback on things in a manner that doesn’t rely on being in the same room – this is an area that health technology brands like Moodbeam can provide tools of real value to employers.
The self-reporting Moodbeam One wristband, which links to a companion app, encourages users to press a yellow button when feeling good and a blue button when they’re feeling not so good or negative. These baseline emotions are subsequently tracked on the app to create emotional patterns and trends that can then be viewed, shared and discussed – highlighting situations or behaviours that are causing unhappiness or stress.
Co-founder and director of Moodbeam, Christina Colmer McHugh, said: ‘This pandemic saw us enter completely unchartered waters as employers, so naturally it’s changed everything for businesses. A sudden change to working remotely en masse, or to working in highly stressful “frontline” positions with new guidelines and safety measures meant that employees had everything they knew changed almost overnight.
‘The Government has now advised a move back to working remotely wherever possible, and so we have to consider the further impact this will have on people’s mental health – which for many has already been significant. The Office For National Statistics (ONS) recently revealed that the number of people experiencing depression symptoms had risen from 1 in 10 to 1 in 5 since the pandemic began – and with coronavirus not going away any time soon this mental health crisis is likely to continue to worsen.
‘We certainly must not forget external pressures on people in this highly stressful time. The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted every single person in the country (and beyond) in some form or another, and even those that have been relatively untouched by the pandemic when it comes to physical health will have had their well-being impacted. Now, these new guidelines come with different external factors that can cause distress and anxiety in many – even before we consider the rising number of COVID-19 cases around the country.’
Moodbeam’s device is already being used by companies around the country in their well-being strategies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturer Ansell, which has incorporated the device with team members from its Willerby office in Yorkshire, providing the team with an opportunity to reflect on how they are managing the day-to-day, while also enabling an open communication with colleagues; to ensure they are coping with the ongoing challenges raised by the pandemic.
The dashboard combines the recorded information and gives employers real-time feedback from staff – and in a global pandemic situation being able to get this information from staff quickly without having to rely on appraisals or survey results will have been crucial.
Talking about how health tech devices like Moodbeam’s wearable can help businesses with employee well-being strategies, co-founder Jonathan Elvidge said: ‘In many cases, when we went into the initial lockdown we lost the ability to get a gauge on how our team members are doing from physical cues, so many HR teams needed to come up with new ways of caring for staff well-being from a distance – and quickly.
‘This is where tools like our own can really benefit organisations by allowing staff members to record how their day is going. We all know it can be quite hard to raise issues at work, especially if you are having a tough time, but self-reporting prompts allow staff to simply track how their day is going and report indirectly to managers and HR.
‘Since the beginning of lockdown, we’ve improved our tool based on feedback to ensure that it gives the best value possible to businesses. The real-time approach and engagement model serve to make teams feel more connected, encourage transparency and allow management teams to react quickly when staff show signs of strain or anxiety.
‘We truly believe that allowing staff to have a voice no matter where you are in an organisation – or the world – is central to well-being at work, and it’s absolutely going to become a much more collaborative matter between employers and employees.
‘User-led, self-reporting health tech like the Moodbeam One has a real place in people strategies moving forwards. It can help identify when staff members are having a tougher time and open conversations about making changes to help foster a more positive experience. Whether this is allowing more flexibility of working hours, re-addressing role responsibilities or even something as simple as replacing an office chair to make someone physically more comfortable, it’s on us all to work together.’
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