If you’re the typical worker bee or even mid- to high-level executive, the promise and peril of technology creeping into your life is no doubt familiar.
No one is immune from round-the-clock emails, texts, the constant communication and newsfeeds that have made the modern employee so informed, so productive — and also so stressed out. Indeed, productivity is one of the most closely watched indicators of economic prosperity, yet progress also goes hand-in-hand with the mounting anxiety that comes with how tech and automation are causing widespread disruption across all industries, especially the benefits space.
In our feature story, we focused on technology, and particularly how tech is being used for positive change and transformation. Associate editor Caroline Hroncich, who covers technology, took a look at the University of Lynchburg and interviewed Tom Scott, director of a new online master’s program at the school, which is teaching working benefit advisers and professionals in the employee benefits and healthcare industries the skills they need to advance in their respective fields. It’s notable that they are all upgrading their skills virtually, logging in from cities such as Boston and Houston to take classes via online courses — a sign of a popular move among working professionals looking for an edge via distance learning and continuing education programs like Lynchburg’s.
This year’s spotlight on technology also includes the latest class of Digital Innovators transforming the HR and benefits space. More than 20 new faces of change for the benefits and HR industry champion a range of tech including virtual reality and voice assistants. New engagement tools include a benefits television station and even a comic superhero, and we note a growing trend of on-demand mindfulness and fitness — smart and timely offerings for those looking to unwind from tech overload.