Horizon CDT Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Recommendations for the Design and Implementation of Wellbeing Platforms in the Workplace

  Emma Gentry (2021 cohort)

Increasingly, workplaces are shifting their attention towards digitalised solutions, such as wellbeing self-help technologies, that are intended for use by employees to manage their own wellbeing (Jones et al., 2021; Torous et al., 2020). These innovations reinvent the way in which workplace organisations can support their employees, though it is debatable whether they have been designed from an end-user perspective. Ethical concerns associated with the use of these platforms have not been adequately considered in this new post COVID era, especially with regards to unhealthy incentives to encourage engagement, as well as social desirability concerns.

The underlying argument here is that maximum benefit from wellbeing platforms can be achieved if (a) they are engaged with appropriately and (b) individuals’ trajectories (as measured through wellbeing assessments) are not influenced by social desirability pressures within the workplace environment. I further argue that more accurate representations of employee wellbeing not only have the potential to improve long-term resilience, but this work will also provide a valuable contribution to the normalisation of wellbeing issues within the workplace, in turn helping people to have a greater sense of self-acceptance. Therefore, a set of recommendations for employers and wellbeing platform developers with be produced at the end of this PhD to encourage honest and healthy engagement with wellbeing platforms in the workplace.

Further reading:

Hammedi, W., Leclercq, T., Poncin, I., & Alkire (Née Nasr), L. (2021). Uncovering the dark side of gamification at work: Impacts on engagement and well-being. Journal of Business Research, 122, 256–269.

Jones, N. M., Johnson, M., Sathappan, A. v., & Torous, J. (2021). Benefits and limitations of implementing mental health apps among the working population. Psychiatric Annals, 51(2), 76–83.

Martela, F., & Sheldon, K. M. (2019). Clarifying the Concept of Well-Being: Psychological Need Satisfaction as the Common Core Connecting Eudaimonic and Subjective Well-Being. Review of General Psychology, 23(4), 458–474.

Roberts, J. L., & Fowler, L. R. (2017). How Assuming Automony May Undermine Wellness Programs. In Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine (Vol. 27).

Torous, J., Myrick, K. J., Rauseo-Ricupero, N., & Firth, J. (2020). Digital mental health and COVID-19: Using technology today to accelerate the curve on access and quality tomorrow. In JMIR Mental Health (Vol. 7, Issue 3). JMIR Publications Inc.

This author is supported by the Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Nottingham (UKRI Grant No. EP/S023305/1).