If it was up to the workforce robots are here to stay, and not just to improve work processes or create new product, but also to contribute to mental health. Globally, 62% of the workforce would rather speak to a robot than their manager about mental health, shows the second volume of the AI@Work Study by Oracle (Mental Health at Work Requires Attention, Nuance, and Swift Action). In this study, more than 12,000 people across 11 countries were surveyed on how the pandemic affects their mental health.
Particularly, C-level executives (73%) and HR leaders (69%) are positive about the possible use of AI when it comes to mental health. This might not be surprising when you consider that 80% of the executives and 77% of the HR leaders say that AI has already helped them with mental health issues in the past.
However, these results might also indicate that those in executive positions may be more likely to feel that disclosing mental health issues are a form of weakness and therefore detrimental to their leadership. Companies should respond to this by normalizing asking for help across all levels, the authors emphasize.
More stress due to the pandemic
The need for help has grown during the pandemic. While employees at every level of the organizational structure have suffered mental health issues, executives struggled the most to adapt to remote work: over half of the C-level executives and HR leaders say that they are dealing with ongoing mental health issues in the workplace.
Part of the explanation might be that leading dispersed teams, especially teams that are not used to working remotely requires a different skill set than in-person leadership. Furthermore, executives have had a more difficult time wrangling the technology required to work successful at home compared to employees. These factors might have contributed to more feelings of stress and anxiety.
Younger generations: more open to AI
When it comes to workers, younger generations suffer the most from mental stress: 89% of Gen Z (born in or around 1995) report that the pandemic is negatively affecting their mental health. In contrast, ‘only’ 62% of the Baby Boomers say the same.
Both Gen Z and Millennials (born in or around 1980) are most open to mental health support from AI compared to older generations: 84% and 77% respectively say that they prefer talking to a robot over their managers about stress and anxiety at work.
This might not be so surprising, since many of the younger employees grew up with current technologies, and have experienced the benefits of working with AI. Almost all of them (90%) experienced help from AI with mental health issues in the past, while just over half (52%) of the Baby Boomers can say the same.