Hack Your Talent: technology as an ally of psychological wellbeing

Mental health is an issue for all workers, regardless of gender or age. Care and support are actions that today, two years after the outbreak of the pandemic, are considered a priority not only by employees, but by companies themselves.

Based on the findings of the second edition of The Adecco Group’s global research in ‘Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work 2021”, 32% of respondents indicated that their mental wellbeing had deteriorated in just one year of the pandemic. A figure echoed by the study conducted for Mindwork by BVA Doxa on the wellbeing of workers (managers, executives and employees), which revealed that 80% of survey participants had experienced at least one symptom attributable to burnout syndrome, such as feelings of exhaustion, reduced productivity and cynicism about work. It should come as no surprise, then, that workers expect their companies to pay more attention to their wellbeing and that job seekers choose healthy working environments that promote mental health and provide adequate psychological security.

Now, although more and more organisations see this as paramount, many still lack a strategy. In this regard, the 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey revealed that while 82% of the companies surveyed consider it essential to protect the mental health and physical wellbeing of their people, only 55% say they are prepared. This is also reflected in the Adecco Group’s white paper: 51% of managers, in fact, admit that they find it difficult to recognise when their staff is overworked or burnout-prone.

It is therefore becoming increasingly pressing for all types of companies to ‘establish processes, resources, coaching and tools to promote openness and to listen to the needs of employees in order to help them develop resilience‘. We need to create flexible, individual-friendly working environments where there is room for dialogue and discussion and where everyone feels comfortable.

Psychologists should play a role in accompanying changes in personal life, in all areas, from school to career.

Barbara Bertani, work and organisational psychologist

However, adopting new organisational practices alone is not enough, we need to work on a completely different mindset than in the past and on skills that proactively support the psychological wellbeing of individuals. Technology can help here.

This was exactly the starting point for Mypsy, a Hack Your Talent winning project that Adecco brought to Italian universities as an initiative for both male and female students in the creation of innovative solutions for the future of work. Just like its official presentation states, Mypsy is ‘a new integrated biometric tool for organisational psychologists‘, an app that aims to help therapists and patients alike, starting with the collection and management of data and information. Davide Castro, a student at Milan Polytechnic and one of the members of the team that created it, presented it at PHYD in a talk entitled ‘Hack Your Talent: technologies for psychological wellbeing‘, with Dr Barbara Bertani, work and organisational psychologist and Advisor and Coordinator of the Commission of the Order of Psychologists of Lombardy.

Safeguarding transformation is the best course of treatment

With Mypsy, students envisioned a distant future, a hypothetical 2050 in which psychologists and patients could use new technologies to improve their relationships. Nowadays, in this new normality of which we can barely make out the form, how is the figure of the psychologist and psychotherapist changing?
Bertani thinks we are witnessing an epochal transformation for such a young science. Although it is still associated with the dimension of pathology and wrongly superimposed on psychiatry, there is a growing awareness that ‘this figure should have a role in accompanying changes in personal life, in all spheres, from school to career. One example could be what it means to enter an organisation, to take on a role, to relate to colleagues, to deal with authority. Just consider promotions, dismissals or retirements. In all these phases, and we are not talking about symptoms or pathologies, but about moments of change, where a psychologist can provide help”.

What a great many workers experienced with the lockdown was an obligation to change, the loss of a feeling of wellbeing and security which in the months that followed forced them to come to terms with the difficult search for a new balance. Every transformation, even the most unexpected and sudden, must therefore be protected and adequately governed so that the best can be drawn from it, and in this the psychologist has a key role, one of listening and support, even more than treatment.

Technology, an extraordinary opportunity

In the last two and a half years, the role of technologies and the digital world has been crucial in every aspect of our lives, especially in the professional sphere. Davide Castro outlines a scenario in which not only can the collection of biometric data, such as heartbeat or breath, help professionals detect an altered mental state at an early stage, but in which virtual reality will be an integral part of therapy. Could that really happen?
Bertani thinks so, even if there are many critical issues related to the application of digital technology in the humanities, including respect for privacy, the need for consent and the risk of volatility of such sensitive information:

We have to be grateful to technology, but beware, there is always a person in front of us and we must always read their needs.

Faced with the increasingly pervasive use of computer systems or technological tools, psychologists also need to equip themselves with new competences and skills. Castro can easily see a psychotherapist working alongside a computer scientist within the next two to three decades. How would Bertani handle a collaboration that today sounds (but only apparently) so unlikely?
“If I look at our future in all professions, I see that they are fraying, but not in a negative way. I see this loss of clear boundaries as a great opportunity, because in order to grow you have to deal with the other, the one who is different from me. Hopefully, this integration will take place before 50 years”.

You can watch the webinar and learn more about the topic by registering at the PHYD website.

Di |2024-07-15T10:06:52+01:00Marzo 16th, 2022|english, Innovation, MF|0 Commenti