Robotic mental well-being coaches for the workplace: An in-the-wild study on form


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Abstract

The World Health Organization recommends that employers take action to protect and promote mental well-being at work. However, the extent to which these recommended practices can be implemented in the workplace is limited by the lack of resources and personnel availability. Robots have been shown to have great potential for promoting mental well-being, and the gradual adoption of such assistive technology may allow employers to overcome the aforementioned resource barriers. This paper presents the first study that investigates the deployment and use of two different forms of robotic well-being coaches in the workplace in collaboration with a tech company whose employees (26 coachees) interacted with either a QTrobot (QT) or a Misty robot (M). We endowed the robots with a coaching personality to deliver positive psychology exercises over four weeks (one exercise per week). Our results show that the robot form significantly impacts coachees’ perceptions of the robotic coach in the workplace. Coachees perceived the robotic coach in M more positively than in QT (both in terms of behaviour appropriateness and perceived personality), and they felt more connection with the robotic coach in M. Our study provides valuable insights for robotic well-being coach design and deployment, and contributes to the vision of taking robotic coaches into the real world.

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Keywords
46 Information and Computing Sciences, 4608 Human-Centred Computing, 3 Good Health and Well Being
Journal Title
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Conference Name
HRI '23: ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Journal ISSN
2167-2148
Volume Title
Publisher
ACM
Sponsorship
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R030782/1)
EPSRC (2505818)
EPSRC (EP/T517847/1)
Osk. Huttunen Foundation