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‘Burnout tech’ seeks to identify signs of workers’ mental distress by reading Slack messages and email

Quartz: “Whether employees are griping about the background music before a virtual all-hands meeting, or spending their day gleefully sharing the dankest memes over Slack, these casual communications may contain within them the early warning signs of burnout, according to purveyors of new technology intended to monitor worker discontent. Just as technology exists to monitor workers and identify when they might be slacking off, other software is now being used to flag what an algorithm detects as indicators of burnout, after reading written text on a variety of platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and email. Recognized by the World Health Organization as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” burnout has soared during the pandemic and become entrenched in the cultural zeitgeist as a malady induced by overwork. Burnout has been reported by professionals across a multitude of sectors, and it’s now common for employers to devote resources to address the pervasive issue. As part of this effort, some employers are turning to software that can be deployed to identify warning signs of burnout before they manifest beyond the silo of a messaging platform. “The technology is still in the early days…so we’ll see more and more of this sort of application of AI in the coming years,” said Quinn Underwood, the CEO of Autumn, which makes burnout detection software, using an algorithm that integrates with Slack and employee calendars…”

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