68% Employees Would Prefer Discussing Their Anxiety With a Robot Than Their Manager


An Oracle and Workplace Intelligence study reveals that 68% of those surveyed would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work.

The combination of health-related stress, job loss concerns, and fatigue due to work and home responsibilities is resulting in declining mental health for a majority of the workforce. While conversations on mental health are more common now, there is still much to be desired.

A new studyOpens a new window by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence reveals that 68% of those surveyed would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager regarding stress and anxiety at work. 76% of respondents believe that companies should be doing more to support their workers’ mental health.

The disintegration of boundaries between work and life due to remote work is being reported as the biggest driver of this dip in emotional well-being.

While many companies have started providing new-age benefits that address the emerging issues related to mental health, employees have higher expectations from their companies. Companies may believe that reimbursing counseling costs or covering mental health under insurance might be enough. Still, employees think there is scope for more intervention and technology utilization for their mental wellness.

“I’d Rather Discuss My Anxiety With a Bot”

A majority of the respondents believe that in discussing mental health, robots pro­­vide

  • a judgment-free zone (34%)
  • an unbiased option to share problems (30%)
  • quick answers to health-related questions (29%)

80% of those surveyed are also open to having a robot as a therapist or counselor.

It seems that 83% of the global workforce is keen for their company to provide technology as a solution to support their mental health through

  • self-service access to health resources (36%)
  • on-demand counseling services (35%)
  • proactive health monitoring tools (35%)
  • access to wellness or meditation apps (35%)
  • chatbots to answer health-related questions (28%)

While awareness has risen and companies evaluate new health benefits, technology usage in mental health is conspicuous by its absence. Employees are clearly asking for this support.

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The Advent of Bot-Based Mental Health Care for Employees

The number of mental health chatbots are increasing, as there seems to be a wider acceptance of the role they play in guiding individuals.

For instance, WysaOpens a new window converses with individuals to gather insights about what is troubling them and shares customized sets of basic solutions such as exercises and meditation.

Another example is WoebotOpens a new window chats with people to help them assess their moods and thoughts using the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach.

X2’sOpens a new window AI-powered chatbot, Tess, is used by 19 million users worldwide. The company offers specific solutions for employers, who can leverage the tool to help their employees with their mental health concerns. The chatbot can pass the conversation on to a counselor for more serious concerns, but always with the employee’s consent. Employers also receive data on mental health trends in their organization and can use the data to develop strategies to support their workforce.

In the on-demand counseling space, platforms like TalkspaceOpens a new window match users to therapists for live video therapies. With a subscription plan that covers all employees, companies should be able to find the right health monitoring apps.

Technology is now the backbone of every high-touch process concerning employees. By including digital tools in mental health support, organizations can ensure that burnout does not become a reality for their workers.

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Let’s Also Focus on Developing Empathy Among Leaders

A judgment-free and unbiased approach are among the top reasons employees say they prefer talking to a bot. This indicates that employers need to demonstrate more empathy and provide sensitivity training to managers to handle difficult conversations with employees.

While managers and HR may not provide all the answers, some amount of empathy can help them address the stressors that contribute to employees’ poor mental health. For instance, every expert asserts that offering flexibility in how and when employees do their jobs is critical to get through this current turbulent time. With empathy and learning how to just listen, managers can help employees create schedules that work for them and the organization.

Small moves like this, combined with a tech-based approach, can help employers support their employees’ workplace-related mental health concerns.

Note: The study covered more than 12,000 employees, managers, HR leaders, and C-level executives across 11 countries.