EMPLOYERS should consider using technology to slow down some processes for the sake of their staff’s mental health, a leading figure in Bournemouth’s digital sector has said.

Toby Pestridge, creative director with the agency Createful, said it could be in businesses’ interests to give staff more time to think, support each other and build relationships.

Mental health was being seen “at long last” as an area where technology could help, he said. Innovations such as the meditation app Headspace were already promoting mindfulness practices.

In a blog post on the app and web design agency’s website, he wrote: “Let’s look to use the existing tech within businesses to slow some processes down, to give individuals time to think, support each other and continue to build relationships with colleagues.

“Maybe actively promote emails not being able to be sent after 6pm (some businesses already have). Switch off tracking tools, stop using tech to measure effort and use it to focus on output. Here, agencies have much to learn – many are the worst at tracking hours against client work – creating anxiety in staff due to ineffective use of their own technology and estimation tools.”

He told the Daily Echo it should be possible to find more time at work to connect with colleagues.

“A good example is communication tools. Most workplaces will use traditional email to handle a large portion of communications. On top of this, there’s a growing trend of using group and chat-style messaging platforms like Slack for internal teams,” he said.

“Add to these a client-facing messaging portal for raising issues and support tickets, and you have a multi-threaded, multi-platform flow of communication, and it’s very easily to become rapidly swamped in ‘Hey, could you just…’, ‘Can I grab five minutes…’, ‘What about this…’ messages.”

He said tracking tools, which log hours spent on a project for a client, place greater “scrutiny and micro-management” on staff.

“It’s not hard to imagine the mental strain this places on a team, where every hour (and sometimes every minute) has to be accounted for,” he said.

Mr Pestridge said employers could also help staff to avoid feeling obliged to be “always on” via to their mobile devices.

“There is certainly a growing desire to be seen as ‘on it’ when it comes to doing things outside of office hours. There are necessarily aspects of business that need to be maintained and monitored 24/7, but for the little things that could be handled the next day – why not?” he added.