Faking it online: why you can’t tell if your colleague is struggling via Zoom

May 14, 2020 | Workplace wellbeingWellbeing technology

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The hidden impact of loneliness and isolation on employees working from home is an ongoing challenge for employers. An AON study of 304 companies in the Asia Pacific region found the top organisational challenges for employers are managing flexible work arrangements and employee communication.

In recent months, the popularity of video-conferencing technology has surged in workplace teams. As most employees continue to work in isolation, teams are able to stay connected through regular real-time virtual collaboration. However, helping employees to cope with isolation is a challenge that only 8% of managers believe they’re sufficiently ready to deal with. “It’s not enough to just stay in touch, we need to lead the conversation about wellbeing and we need to be vigilant for the warning signs that someone is not travelling well,” said John Capon, a Sydney-based organisational Psychologist.

In the recent webinar on Re-designing Remote Work to Protect Mental Health, John Capon identifies “our brains, they are hard wired to search out threats, whether they’ve real or perceived…. If we can’t stop our brains from doing this it is really important to acknowledge and make room for these challenging thoughts and emotions whilst we navigate these uncertain times.” There are psychosocial risk factors beyond the usual work demands that are impacting employee’s environments and their ability to navigate the changes and challenges they are facing.

A mental health startup, Uprise, has created a digital risk assess and alert system that finds employees at-risk for a mental health condition. “We know that for employees who are at risk for a mental health concern, one of the hardest things is to reach out and ask for help,” said Dr. Jay Spence, clinical psychologist and founder of Uprise, “This assess and alert tool means that employees confidentially report to us when they are struggling, and a psychologist calls them back within 24 hours.”

The software tool allows employees to complete a confidential Wellbeing Check, where they receive immediate recommendations on what to do. Employees whose scores show they are critical may be at-risk for developing a mental health concern. “Uprise has been connecting with employees at a rate 6 times higher than other EAPs that I've worked with,” said HR manager, Raeleen Beavis. At-risk employees are called within 24 hours by an Uprise psychologist for an assessment and can be referred to your current EAP or the Uprise counselling network for a same day tele-health session.

Businesses can sign up to the service by going to www.uprise.co. Once they have registered, Uprise provides launch materials and a login to the business so that they can onboard their employees and the employees can create their own bookings confidentially.

In addition to the new tele-health options, support is always available 24/7 for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.


Uprise is a proactive employee assistance program (EAP) provider that improves employee engagement, retention and performance by enhancing psychological wellbeing. Learn more about how our program helps to proactively reduce employee stress.

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