As the world grapples with the prolonged challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the well-being of employees has emerged as a top priority for organizations. CIOs, in particular, are increasingly recognizing the significance of nurturing a workplace culture that fosters employee well-being. In the wake of widespread remote work, companies are now focused on preserving the technology-enabled practices that have improved the well-being of their workforce. This article explores the role of CIOs in supporting employee well-being through the intentional use of technology. Here are 5 ways CIOs can use technology to support their employees.
1. Defining Boundaries for Technology
CIOs can play a pivotal role in defining the boundaries for technology use within their organizations. The overuse of smartphones and social media, even before the pandemic, has been linked to negative effects on employee health. In remote work scenarios, these effects can exacerbate issues like reduced efficiency, increased turnover, and higher healthcare costs. To counteract this, IT leaders can establish policies and model healthy relationships with technology. Suggestions such as "monotasking" and setting aside focused work time while minimizing distractions from phones can improve employee well-being. Additionally, technology-enabled nudges, like countdown timers for meetings, can help employees recharge between tasks.
2. Creating New Traditions with Existing Technologies
In today's remote work environment, some employees tend to favor technology-mediated communication over direct human contact. CIOs can encourage the use of technology in ways that enhance, rather than replace, human connection. For instance, they can suggest teams create certain channels on collaboration platforms to facilitate informal interactions.
3. Creating New Traditions with New Technologies
CIOs can collaborate with the business to leverage emerging technologies for well-being and inclusion. Organizational network analysis, virtual campuses, and networking tools like internal talent marketplaces can foster connections, improve teamwork, and enhance employee well-being. This can also apply to CIOs investing in apps and digital health products to help employees manage their physical and mental health.
4. Finding Work Styles that Work
Employees have experienced significant shifts in work styles over the past 18 months. CIOs can employ sentiment analysis to gauge employee perceptions of health-related programs, relationships with colleagues, and sources of stress. Balancing the benefits of remote work, such as increased autonomy, with sustainability in the new normal is crucial.
5. Investing in Values
Leaders may need to reconsider and develop new values to retain their workforce in the current economic landscape. Prioritizing people over systems, rewarding team-building skills and creativity, and fostering an atmosphere of trust and safety are values that can enhance employee well-being.
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of genuine workplace interactions and employee well-being. CIOs can harness technology to break down barriers, support well-being initiatives, and redefine workplace culture. By taking proactive steps to integrate technology and prioritize employee well-being, CIOs can contribute to a healthier, more productive, and resilient workforce. Check out the full article on The Wall Street Journal.