two business men Is data the key to workplace mental health and wellbeing?

Data is everywhere in the world today. But could it be the key to workplace mental health and wellbeing? Read on to find out how data can be a fantastic resource to improve your workplace’s mental health and wellbeing.

Is data the same as statistics?

They are connected, but they are not the same. 

According to Forbes, the amount of data “created, copied, captured and consumed” in 2020 increased to 59 trillion gigabytes. That’s a mind-blowing statistic, isn’t it?

Data is the primary, raw information. It can be analysed and turned into statistics (figures, percentages, etc.), which then help us see more clearly what is happening.

For example, in a global survey, Oracle discovered that 2020 was the most stressful year ever. The survey showed that the mental health of 78% of workers has suffered because of the pandemic.  It also showed that 76% of employees want mental health to be a priority for their employers.

That’s a lot of workers who are concerned about their mental health. And, as we spend so much of our time at work, shouldn’t we use every available tool to improve our workplaces? 

So, where does all the data come from?

We create most of it ourselves. Every time we click on a website, make an online purchase or use a card in the supermarket, a data record is created. Ever wondered why adverts for what we’ve just bought suddenly pop up on our phones or computers? Does that seem a bit spooky? A bit like Big Brother really is watching? 

But data is rapidly becoming one of the most valuable commodities in the world. This is why there are laws to protect our data and stop it from being stolen or misused.  

Fortunately, when it comes to our health, data is a hugely beneficial resource. Keep reading to find out how we can use data to provide health insights to improve workplace mental health and wellbeing.

How can employers collect data on workplace mental health and wellbeing?

Many employers already survey their employees regularly, and the data they collect is used in various ways. It’s often done by the Human Resources department. Maybe your company runs some kind of staff satisfaction survey.

A staff survey can provide a great deal of information on what staff think about their jobs. Broadly, you ask employees a series of questions. For example, their workload, leadership and management, and career development opportunities. You may even ask about the menu in the staff canteen or the new colour scheme in the office. And data is, of course, collected when someone applies for a job – and when they leave.

But what kind of data can be used to improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace?

Firstly, it’s essential to ask the right questions. And to assess employee wellbeing effectively, you need to ask questions about their experience in the workplace, organisational culture and mental health.

Questions on the employee experience ask how people feel about their job and the workplace. What is their workload like? How much autonomy do they have in deciding how they do their job? Is everybody’s role clearly defined so that responsibilities are understood? What about the physical workspace? How are relationships with managers? Are managers well informed about how their team is feeling and about any external factors impacting their work? Are managers approachable?

Organisational culture covers things like the attitude towards a healthy work-life balance. For example, do managers encourage a long-hours culture? What is internal communication like? Is the workplace diverse, inclusive and accepting of difference? Is there a supportive atmosphere at work where employees’ opinions are sought and listened to?

Finally, but most importantly, mental health needs to be on the agenda in every sense of the word.  Because if you want to know how many of your employees have a mental health concern, you need to ask them. And if you have supportive policies in place, and employees know they are ‘safe’ to be honest, they will be. 

If you need some help with creating a staff survey, you can read about how to devise a mental health questionnaire here.

So how can data be used to improve workplace mental health and wellbeing?

The key to improving and promoting good mental health in the workplace is using data effectively. This data can be a rich source of insights into the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce. The mental health charity MIND has come up with some good ideas about how to do this. 

It’s basically about making links between the issues in the survey and their impact on the workforce’s mental health. For example, adding the data from the employee experience to absenteeism and staff turnover data can give clues about mental health in your workplace. Furthermore, exit interview feedback can be helpful when compared to organisational culture data. It can provide insights and reveal issues requiring attention.

If you would like some help in using data to improve the mental health and wellbeing of your staff, why not get in touch with us?

How can SupportRoom help my company? 

Here, at SupportRoom, we offer employee therapy for small to medium businesses. Our platform allows employees to receive therapy on-demand from a  dedicated, qualified therapist.

Our SME Employee Support platform is designed to give insightful data that allows your employees to track their progress and monitor their own mental and physical health.

Book a free demo here.


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