Recent developments in technology have prompted corporations to consider alternative solutions that can improve workplace empathy. Empathy is crucial within a workplace setting because it encompasses sub-values such as perspective and compassion that can allow employees to feel supported. Empathy within the workplace creates a positive environment in which both employers and employees can understand one another’s perspectives; a greater sense of belonging can vastly improve a company’s efficiency and employees’ outlook of the organization. Furthermore, the shift to remote work has left some individuals reporting symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion that is correlated with a lack of in-person interaction. Others find that although Zoom meetings may offer some form of communication, the platform alone does not foster productivity or satisfaction for them. In a world that will continue to metamorphosize and evolve alongside technology, it is imperative that corporations utilize digital platforms as empathy building tools. In fact, companies such as SweetRush have implemented virtual reality (VR) headsets as a tool for employees to increase their empathy towards colleagues in other fields within the company. The VR headset took users through a simulation of hotel workers and other employees in varying roles. The user would be able to participate in such roles and gain a sense of appreciation for their colleagues in real life. Moreover, VR offers individuals the ability to understand the experiences of underrepresented populations. Another company utilized VR to have marketers better understand the needs of individuals with disabilities for a certain product. While the creation of a virtual reality is integral in providing empathy boosts for workers, it is important to recognize the different benefits it holds. The COVID-19 pandemic brought attention to another digital medium used for communication: Slack. Slack is an app used by organizations in which employees can interact with one another through different features (e.g., sending emojis as reactions to chat) and stay up to date with the latest announcements. Unlike most messaging apps, Slack strongly values pushing forth empathetic principles within its features and structure. For example, the founder of Slack emphasizes the importance of balancing work and fun, encouraging feedback for employees, and using Slack to hone in on the concerns of others. Currently, there are a variety of digital tools that can implement and encourage empathy within workplace settings. From VR to messaging apps, employers now have a variety of accessible resources that can further build their organizations, enhance perspective-building, and create positive environments.
Sources: https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2021/2/digital-transformation-4-ways-build-empathy https://www.westagilelabs.com/blog/role-of-empathetic-technolgy-in-digital-transformation/ https://trainingindustry.com/articles/learning-technologies/developing-employee-empathy-using-virtual-reality/ https://www.fearlessculture.design/blog-posts/slack-culture-design-canvas