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Can Cloud Video Providers Solve Workplace Wellness?


Someone meditating at their desk
Image: zakalinka -
Over the last year, companies have gone to some incredible lengths to ensure employees are physically and mentally well — hosting everything from Zoom happy hours to virtual exercise classes and wellness sessions. Despite all these efforts, concern over workplace wellness has only gotten bigger over time.
For a bit of perspective, employment firm Indeed found that 52% of people it surveyed felt burned-out, with 67% of all respondents said that the problem worsened during the pandemic. Indeed also found that more remote workers are feeling burned-out than in-office workers. Couple these results with those from a recent Harris Poll survey that found 40% of employees wanted to remain at-home workers, and it’s clear that the need to address workplace wellness, especially for remote workers, has never been higher.
So, what’s to be done? One solution comes way of video meeting providers that are leveraging their platform capabilities to provide various wellness tools. Earlier this month, Cisco revealed that it has partnered with Thrive Global to bring the company’s behavior-change Thrive Reset videos to its Webex meeting platform. These 60-second videos are designed to help users focus their breathing, reflect on what they're grateful for, and more, Cisco said. They’re also customizable, so users add their own photos, relaxing music, or an inspiration quote to their Resets, Cisco added.
And, earlier this year, Microsoft revealed Viva, an employee experience platform that provides modules for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing, and knowledge. Within Viva, Microsoft offers a praise feature, a Virtual Commute feature, guided meditations and mindful experience with wellness app Headspace, and more. Additionally, users can schedule a breathing break or take a moment to reflect within Viva, as Microsoft explains in Viva documentation.
In addition to what Microsoft and Cisco offer, a host of wellness apps are available today that might be a fit for your workplace, as I discussed in this previous WorkSpace Connect article.
While these features show a good-faith effort to address workplace wellness, as I’ve wondered in the past about wellness apps, I’m unsure if technology alone will be the cure-all for this issue. Considering a source of fatigue comes from the video platforms themselves (more precisely meetings), I’m unsure employees will be willing to relax/refocus with one of the things that made them stressed in the first place. More precisely, what’s the benefit of taking a Thrive Reset as opposed to taking a minute or two to step outside and get a breath of fresh air?
With the return of many pre-COVID activities happening in the U.S., we should soon see a return of some in-person work events (company picnics, team lunches, etc.), and this, hopefully, should have a net benefit on employee morale and wellness.
This isn’t to say that technology doesn’t have a role to play with workplace wellness; it’s a crucial piece to the puzzle. However, other puzzle pieces like strong workplace leadership, a cohesive wellness strategy, and an openness to talk about workplace wellness and mental health need to be there as well. If all these pieces come together, then a full picture of what a healthy workplace will emerge, and maybe then, employees can feel some relief.