Change fatigue: What can businesses do to help employee wellbeing

Employee wellbeing dramatically decreased following the uncertainty the pandemic has caused around the world. Recent data reveals 4 in 5 people have described themselves as being gripped by change fatigue. But what can companies do to help? From using AI to collect useful data to combining psychology and technology, business leaders are able to drive much-needed transformation from the bottom up.

IDGConnect_wellbeing_employee_staff__shutterstock_1543538663_1200x800
Shutterstock

This is a contributed article by Kendal Parmar, CEO, and Co-Founder of Untapped AI.

Mental health and wellbeing have been hot topics around the globe following the ripple effects of the pandemic. Many employees are currently taking part in a variety of working models, from hybrid to remote working, while others are back working in the office full time.

New data collected demonstrates that a significant one-third of users feel their low mood has increased in the last month. The research shows that more than 4 in 5 people have described themselves as feeling in the grip of change fatigue in September, exhausted with their workplace and social uncertainty.

A world of uncertainty: what we can learn from data

As the pandemic has progressed, anxiety has decreased by 14% and instead given way to low mood amongst employees.

This may be down to people losing touch with their sense of agency and feeling a lack of control throughout the pandemic, following many sudden changes and disruptions affecting their work and personal life. People may feel disconnected from their work colleagues and not feel like a united force anymore. Some people may feel burned out, not being able to separate work and home life while adjusting to working from home. Factors such as an enforced return to the office or lack of coherent strategy with hybrid working are affecting people’s outlook on their jobs and livelihoods and may create a sense of a lack of control.

The uncertainty that comes with this stuttering pandemic recovery creates dilemmas for companies who are trying to solve them with wildly differing strategic options. Hybrid working is just one option and can be difficult to get right. If the recovery stage isn’t done right, employees are left with an overriding feeling of change fatigue and low mood; what was ‘all in it together’ becomes ‘all in this apart’.

As an approach rising in popularity, data can be the answer to this challenge for many business leaders: it provides an uncensored grassroots understanding to inform an effective response to change fatigue.

Mixing psychology with technology

So, if everyone is working in their own hybrid bubble, on different schedules and with different pressures in their personal and professional lives, how do you democratise employees’ access to support?

Without a constant stream of uncensored and honest data, companies will be blind-sighted into making decisions using flawed information. The power of AI allows for information without an agenda. Often AI is portrayed as an all-seeing eye used to better understand the consumer so companies can sell more. But, if it can understand and inform businesses’ corporate strategies, then surely it can be democratised to improve on our own self-awareness and connect the data back to the individual.

It is crucial for companies to make informed decisions regarding what changes their enterprise may require to work as productively and according to as high standards as possible. This not only benefits companies’ business efficiency but employees’ wellbeing as well, as they won’t feel as stressed and overwhelmed as a result.

Organisations can start by identifying the areas that need to be changed and embrace tools that combine the power of transformation with the help of AI.  By taking advantage of these data insights, AI can help companies understand themselves more and what changes need to be implemented to make wider organisational improvements.

Without it, organisational change is hard to achieve, and AI is critical to assisting individuals in increasing self-awareness, combating self-censorship and, thereby, improving overall productivity. Crucially, through aggregating this data to reveal wider insights using AI, organisations can take the first step to introduce bottom-up change, free of any inherent bias or agendas.

The evolution of change

Change has evolved: it has to come from the bottom up in order to have an impact. By gathering data from the roots and feeding it up to the top, you can drive change in a way that supports the individual. Once organisations have prepared their internal operations to be agile and adaptable to change, it will in return create a smoother transition period for employees and staff themselves, creating a sense of safety and trust.

What we have learned from the past year and a half is that we can never truly predict what is going to happen, and companies must be prepared and ready for any drastic change which might be sprung on them. As daunting as that could sound, organisations can start small before expanding accordingly and incorporating AI into daily tasks. Over time, AI will collect data that organisations can leverage and act on accordingly at a pace and time that best suits them.

Change should not bring about fatigue. If it is done well, it should drive a feeling of reconnection with your sense of agency and your capacity to meaningfully and consciously control your life. Businesses need to pioneer from the bottom up rather than forcing it on employees from the top down with an informed understanding of the why behind each action.

People who take advantage of such tools will gain access to uncensored data without any of the filters and are free to help make company decisions based on what is really going on under the hood of this post-pandemic world.