Attuning to new stress-reduced working styles: Companies can help in big way, says IT expert

Attuning to new stress-reduced working styles: Companies can help in big way, says IT expert
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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 29): Before the Covid-19 saga, people were generally attuned to an idea of what working life was all about, with structures and systems in place, specifically in their work places, with workers strictly having to physically go to their offices at the set times to get work done.

There was a clear demarcation between work life and personal life, but the pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns have blurred the lines and radically changed this “normal” working style in many areas, said Rajesh Mishra, head of HCM Apps, Oracle Malaysia.

While the frontliners in the medical sector and other essential services like transportation, food and retail continued their operations physically, working-from-home became the only option for many to ensure the continuity of operations and services in various sectors including banking and finance, as everyone sought to reduce physical human contact and the spread of the virus.

For some, the transition to working-from-home has been smooth but for many there have been challenges, among them the stress that comes from not having a cut-off point between work and personal life, he said.

Citing the findings of the Oracle AI at Work survey, Rajesh said 70% of those surveyed believed that 2020 has been the most stressful year ever and that the pandemic had negatively affected the mental health of 78% of the global workforce.

A majority of them said mental health issues at work negatively affected their home life through things like sleep deprivation, poor physical health and disturbed family relationships.

Rajesh said many workers had also expressed that artificial intelligence (AI) has helped their mental health at work by giving them necessary information for their jobs, automating tasks and in the process helped to reduce their stress.

Companies are in a position to do more to help protect the mental health of their workforce as many remote workers continue to struggle to balance professional and domestic demands, for instance, families with young children who face high levels of stress when carrying out work at home. 

No doubt the Covid-19 pandemic had raised the level of business survival tactics to greater levels with optimum utilisation of Internet technologies and the enhancement of staff’s skills, but working at home is the new norm and hence, more can be done for its careful adoption and sure path for increased competency, productivity, and performance, he said.

Pointing out the various solutions that have been aiding companies to help their staff cope with working- from-home, be it marketing meetings or sharing files and data, Rajesh said some major AI solutions offered by Oracle include its chatbot and Oracle Digital Assistant.