Humans Run Technology And Not The Other Way Around : Pia Shome

Humans Run Technology And Not The Other Way Around : Pia Shome

Employees have woken up to the fact that health is a primary investment. Balancing both work and investing in one’s own self needs to be seen in the light of the long-term benefit to all.


Geoff McDonald, global advocate, campaigner, and consultant for mental health, says, “We are still at base camp in breaking stigma. Even though progress has been made, a lot needs to be done” and indicates the reluctance in admitting ailments related to mental health among employees. How can organisations utilise HR technology to monitor the emotional needs of their employees?


Organisations today have employee support platforms that enable employees to consult a doctor on call anytime. There are many organisations that have combined engagement and health, and this has led to great employee participation and health awareness.


Giving the employee the time for a patient hearing is also important. Organisations should organise regular communication platforms like Townhalls, One-on-One communication meets, e-meetings, helpdesk etc. The idea is to carve out what works best for each organisation. We connect with employees through a lot of these engagement tools leading to wide adoption. Employees can choose which mode works best for them and choose the platform of their choice to connect with us.


During a study by Aetna International, employees indicated that they could exercise more if they spent less time on their computers and that computers have impaired their vision. They also indicated that they spend their weekend hours checking their phones for office related work and are paranoid that they are using their phones more often. Do you believe that technology can be used to ensure employees have a homogenous work life?


Humans run technology and not the other way around. People need to demarcate their personal time and office time by taking charge of it! Compulsive checking of phones is a very personal issue and only we can take charge of it ourselves. “Addiction to technology” or “missing out syndrome” is a very real issue and this is what drives employees to keep checking their phones.


Organisations can run mental well-being webinars, awareness sessions, give employees time off to renew and reset. At Ugro Capital, we have announced a five day long, company-wide holiday during Diwali. This is a gesture to ensure employees take the time off and renew and reset. Similar initiatives by organisations will help employees to adjust their personal and professional lives.


In the wake of the first and second wave of the pandemic, we witnessed the closure of gyms, fitness clubs and there were also severe curbs on outdoor activities related to fitness. As an organisation, how do you believe technology must be used to ensure that employees are physically fit and mentally sound?


Physical activity is not limited to gyms and fitness clubs. A simple walk inside the house or a walk inside the building can also do wonders. More importantly, a diet watch is the most important factor. As they say, it is 90% diet that ensures one’s good health. Technology can be used to leverage and track some of these health parameters. Tracking step count, heart count etc. is possible through accessible and wearable technology today.


Technology has also enabled diet tracking through app-based tracking and suggestion. This space has truly witnessed large scale adoption in the past couple of years. I believe that such a trend will continue and higher adoption rates will be experienced by both individuals and organisations alike.


How is HR technology being used in your organisation to ensure the mental and physical well-being of your employees? Is there any specific tool or methodology that you would prescribe to HR Managers for implementing in their organisation?


As an organisation, we have always believed in work life balance. We believe in impact and not input to measure employee success. So, we have still not mandated employees to return to office for work, we believe that employees can make that choice for themselves.


We have the office 360 suite, our entire employee experience process from onboarding to exit is online! Working from anywhere is truly the path forward!


A report by Castlight Health and Benefit News has indicated that there is a priority divide between the employer and the employee when it comes to digital healthcare solutions in the workplace. What are your views on the said report?


I think more and more employees and employers are today realising the importance of Health. Any employer, who believes that they are building an institution, and so, is invested in the long-term welfare and wellness of their employees. Hence, more and more employers are becoming conscious of the employees’ physical and mental well-being. We see instances of it. Today, many organisations encourage employees to take time out, balance work life, invest in engaging employees and help them in becoming the best version of themselves. Today, employees too have woken up to the fact that health is a primary investment. Balancing both work and investing in one’s own self needs to be seen in the light of the long-term benefit to all.


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