Mental Health Awareness Week is taking place 10-16th May 2021 and this past year, many employees and employers have faced great challenges in managing an evolving work dynamic in regards to mental wellbeing.
With working environments and styles experiencing such drastic changes, employers have started to look at how software solutions can prevent burnout for their teams and improve employee wellbeing.
Mental Health issues in relation to work have grabbed the attention of millions across the globe, with many highlighting the effects and importance of managing anxiety, as well as giving workers the tools and support they need to cope with the pressures of everyday life.
The cost of poor mental health awareness in the workplace
According to a study conducted by MHFA England, 1 in 6 employees will suffer problems related to stress, 1 in 5 will take a day off due to stress, and 90% of people affected will cite a different reason for their absence.
Studies also predict that individuals who are less productive due to poor mental health at work can rack up an annual cost to employers of between £33 billion and £42 billion annually. The cost of poor mental health to an entire economy ranges between £74 billion and £99 billion per year. It is therefore in the best interest of the employer to take care of their employee’s mental health. Every year an estimated cost of £1,300 is generated per employee whose mental health needs were not supported in the workplace.
During the pandemic, it’s estimated that over 80% of people around the world felt a sense of anxiety, depression, claustrophobia, xenophobia, isolation and deepening of existing mental health conditions. The world started to gain compassion for those who were struggling, and tried new methods and techniques to best reach out “socially distanced”, and that often involved going digital.
Addressing mental health concerns in the CX workplace
As many businesses and their employees are starting to feel a sense of normality return in 2021, we should not dismiss the severity and importance of addressing mental health in the workplace. To look at how businesses operating within the customer engagement (CX) market can address mental health needs across their teams, businesses must first look at the day-to-day work processes that their teams go through.
At Connex One, we decided to take a look at some CX software solutions that can assist with tackling the potential mental stress points for contact centre employees including; time management, scheduling, working remotely and reducing anxiety for teams.
Reduce stress and prioritise mental wellbeing with Shift Organisation
Shift Organiser is a software solution, part of the Workforce optimisation portfolio at Connex One where staff can view and manage their shift patterns. There are various mental health benefits to utilizing the shift organiser, managing expectations, workload and anticipated anxiety that comes with requesting leave. The self-service holiday request feature has automated approval flows, which drastically reduces admin time within the workplace, allowing for less high-stress anticipation of whether leave will be approved or not. It also offers full transparency allowing agents and managers to visually identify potential shift shortfalls or opportunities in the calendar where holiday requests will likely be approved.
“Shift organiser also allows employees to be scheduled to work when suits them best. This can take into account personal work preferences and incorporate factors such as extracurricular activities, childcare, and social preferences just to name a few. This allows employees to manage their time more effectively and allow for mental wellbeing”, says Brian Bvundura, Business Development Specialist at Connex One.
According to Brian Bvundura, Shift Organizer has offered contact centres the flexibility to pivot when agents fall ill. He explains one of the functions called shrinkage, which takes into account if somebody wakes up that morning and is not feeling well, can automatically account for the workload which needs to be picked up and fairly distribute their workload across the team according to their personalised shift styles. From a mental wellbeing perspective, you are no longer unfairly putting additional workload pressure on colleagues if somebody falls ill, as well as pressuring employees who do not feel well to come into work.
Reward employees and show appreciation with Gamification
Gamification is an incentivised behaviour feature that creates fun and engaging results-based challenges to motivate team members and increase productivity. Remaining positive and engaged in your workplace is an important factor in maintaining positive mental health. Organisations can implement Gamification features to reward performance and boost overall morale in the workplace.
Advanced game mechanics create multi-level environments for your team to earn points, advance levels and collect badges in exchange for customisable commissionable incentives.
With remote working now commonplace for workers across many organisations, all employees can still feel like they are part of the wider office space through Gamification, no matter where they are working. This includes satellite offices with small groups of employees versus the head office where oftentimes the majority of employees sit.
Gamification increases collaboration amongst teams and offers visibility of how team members are performing. This makes it easy for workers to check in with other team members and if you see they are at the bottom of the leaderboard you can offer to help them out with x, y, or z. Gamification is not always about competition, it can help to identify where somebody is struggling, and assistance can be given.
Provide a helping hand with Quality Management AI
Quality Management AI is a customer engagement software feature that assists agents under pressure, helping to guide them throughout the interaction process. In addition, it enables agents to coach themselves, allowing agents to utilise on-screen prompts describing how to alter their approach when engaging with customers to reach the desired outcomes and further improve their skill sets.
When an agent is communicating with a customer via phone call or text, the QM AI feature will automatically pop up on screen and provide helpful prompts to suggest how agents can improve their customer engagement techniques within this interaction. For example, during the sales operation calls, if there is a new agent who does not possess an adequate sales skillset, the AI technology will assess the ongoing conversation and interject at the relevant point of conversation with the best script aimed at closing the deal.
The functionality itself streamlines the overall process of onboarding and training agents, as well as minimizing the potential stress for agents who feel unable to navigate customer interactions or requests without assistance., maximizing time and efficiency.
If we have learned one thing over the past year is that much like the COVID-19 virus, mental health struggles in the workplace do not respect borders, and access to help is valuable no matter where workers are based. The need for a global effort to improve mental health in the workplace and boost the wellbeing of workers is imperative because an individual employee’s struggles shouldn’t be a struggle alone.
Various tools can help improve mental health within the workplace, and these features are just a few examples of helpful solutions that CX software like Connex One has to offer.
We encourage anyone who is seeking mental health advice to please contact their local health care provider or within the UK you can contact the NHS urgent mental health helplines that are for people of all ages.
Useful Contacts for within Nigeria:
Nigerian Suicide Prevention Counselling Centre
234 806 210 6493
234 809 210 6493
Lagos Suicide Hotline
080 588 20777