The title of this blog post may sound like a paradox to many – surely the excessive use of technology is reducing Wellbeing, rather than contributing to it would be a common response. Regardless of one’s views, most agree that Wellbeing is something that many employees and businesses need to be actively thinking about with the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand going as far as saying:
Mental wellbeing is one of the most valuable business assets. Workplaces that prioritise mental health have better engagement, reduced absenteeism and higher productivity, while people have improved wellbeing, greater morale and higher job satisfaction.
Last week I posted about new research into the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of students being the key to unlocking their academic potential, yet the prompt behind this post was receiving my weekly “MyAnalytics” email from Office365 which surfaced up to my attention some of my less healthy work habits for consideration:
What this shows to me is that there were many weekend days where I was doing some form of work – whether that be emails, chats or even phone calls. Admittedly, this data is skewed somewhat because I work across time zones meaning my “after hours” is often evening work when I’ve taken some time off earlier in the day. Nevertheless, these prompts can be very valuable to consider how I should adapt my working to ensure the long term health of my overall Wellbeing.
MyAnalytics even has a tile specifically dedicated to reporting on Focus Time vs Collaboration time in relation to Wellbeing:
Whilst we all know, and largely agree, that collaboration is the hallmark of the modern workplace, seeing the above did make me reflect on whether I’m blocking out enough time to focus and get different kinds of work done, rather than making myself constantly available to others.
What Is MyAnalytics
Built into Office365, MyAnalytics began life as a “Fitness Band for your digital work” – a way of measuring how you’re spending your time and shape your work behaviour to become more productive. Over time, it’s pivoted a little more towards the promotion of Wellbeing in the workplace as you can see from the screenshots above. Critically, the data in MyAnalytics is private to the individual – the business or employer can not access these insights. The full data privacy information can be read here but this is a key point:
MyAnalytics is not designed to enable employee evaluation, tracking, or monitoring. MyAnalytics provides insights to individuals through a personalized dashboard, a weekly email digest, an Outlook Add-in, and nudges in Outlook. MyAnalytics has no mechanism or option that allows anyone but the user to access the personalized information that is displayed through these surfaces, unless that person purposefully and independently shares that information.
The last line is important – whilst the data always remains private to the individual, these trends and insights could form the basis to start a conversation with a manager or boss to discuss work/life balance. This, to me, is where Technology can in fact contribute meaningfully to the dialogue around Wellbeing in the workplace. If there is empirical data showing excessive after hours work then it’s perhaps easier to have that conversation about what can be done to reduce this.
I follow a lot of educators on Twitter and one of the more common themes I see is discussions around how to more effectively manage workloads in the sector. There is no easy answer I suspect, however tools like MyAnalytics may provide some deeper insights into precisely how your working life looks over weeks/months.
Why Use MyAnalytics?
The following points are taken from the official documentation page here.
By using MyAnalytics, you and your team can:
- Boost meeting quality: Save four to five hours per week by cutting back on low-quality meeting time.
- Get more focus time: Find more time to eliminate distractions, stop multi-tasking, and focus on your core priorities.
- Improve your work-life balance: Improve norms around after-hours collaboration and reduce the time you spend working after hours.
The following video shows common ways in which you can benefit from MyAnalytics: