Did you know that 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems while at work?
While many employers are more aware of the importance of promoting positive mental health in the workplace, it’s difficult for employers to recognise mental health problems early on. B2B mental health application, OK Positive, aims to fill the market gap for mental health support in the workplace.
OK Positive supports businesses across a variety of sectors, by helping employers identify small problems before they become full-blown. Catching small problems early allows employers to address the issues so their employees can feel supported, avoid sick leave and stay at work.
Edinburgh-based content marketing agency, Copy House, recently started using the OK Positive app to offer support for employees and bring the team together. Three weeks into using the app, Copy House received mostly positive feedback. Thanks to the company’s efforts to support mental health in the workplace, Copy House’s employees feel motivated, energised and happy at the company.
Mental Health In The Workplace Needs Attention
COVID-19 raised serious concerns about physical and mental wellbeing. People live with the constant fear of what an infection will do to them and their loved ones, and worry about how the recession will affect their financial situation.
Many employees are isolated because of the lockdown, while others lose their jobs and income, and working parents have to juggle work and childcare. The pandemic is testing people’s resilience, and the future holds a lot of uncertainty for employees and employers.
But COVID-19 is only one of many stress factors that affect employee mental health. Research shows that 21% have called in sick to avoid work-related stress, and 42% considered resigning due to a stressful
work environment. In addition, 30% felt like they couldn’t talk to their employer about their mental health problems.
Charlie Winton, founder of OK Positive, experienced this problem when he worked in recruitment. Everyone saw Charlie as a happy person and no one was aware that he experienced frequent panic attacks for a whole year due to severe work-related stress.
New Way To Support Mental Health In The Workplace
Charlie found himself hiding in the office toilets up to six times per day to get past his panic attacks. His mental health issues continued for a year before Charlie decided to do something about it. After doing research to try to help his situation, Charlie found that other apps came with limitations, and were either too expensive or too complicated.
So in July 2019, Charlie founded the OK Positive application to help employers track their employees’ mental state and identify better ways to support their mental health. The OK Positive app brings multiple health resources under one roof for a reasonable price, with the aim of opening up healthy narratives around mental health.
By communicating openly about things like stress, anxiety and depression, employers can reduce the effects of those issues in the workplace significantly.
Helping Employers Spot and Address Problems Efficiently
When using the OK Positive application, employees enter how good their mood is on a scale of 1-100 on that day, and enter the reason behind their answer. They can also choose to give specifics for the manager to see, and write down whatever they like in a field that only they themselves can see. All the data is anonymised to give employees a way to communicate their feelings without being put on the spot.
Employers can then use the information (aside from the field that’s for the employee only) to monitor their team’s mental wellbeing and look for any trends that could cause stress for their employees. If the employer notices any specific issues that contribute to employees being unhappy, they can highlight and solve the problem while it’s still minor.
OK Positive uses the water cooler example when explaining the usefulness of the app to new partners. As Charlie Winton explains: “Say everyone is upset that the water cooler doesn’t work, they can highlight it in the app and the employer can address the issue and fix the water cooler. Then they’ll see the happiness level in the workplace go up.”
Gathering Insights To Better Support Employees
“Employees are any company’s biggest asset, which is why it’s so important to promote their physical and mental wellbeing. I’m always looking for ways to improve our workplace culture and help employees bring their best selves to work, OK Positive seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that.” – Kathryn Strachan, Managing Director at Copy House.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, Copy House’s MD & Head of Copy, Kathryn Strachan, looked for ways to support her employees and make sure they could stick together as a team. She knew the only way to get her team through the difficulties caused by the pandemic was to keep them together.
Kathryn tried many different approaches to building a team culture, such as weekly socials, sharing wins and losses, and book clubs. When she learned about OK Positive’s free BETA course, she jumped at the opportunity to get even more insights into how she could better support her employees.
Using OK Positive provides Copy House with real-time data into their employees’ mental health and wellbeing, although the app still has some kinks to work out.
Kathryn Strachan explains that, “while it’s good that the data is anonymised, it makes it hard to identify ways to address negative feedback. For example, if someone marks that they’re feeling down due to family reasons, you’re unable to go to that employee and provide individual support. All issues have to be addressed at a group level.”
The biggest challenge Copy House experiences is getting employees to take the time to log their emotions. For the OK Positive app to reach its full potential, employers need to create good habits for themselves and for their team members.
Going forward, Kathryn envisions the app to play a central role in the growth of the company. She informs that, “I can’t imagine not using tools like OK Positive to monitor my team’s mental well-being in the future. We’ve had a highly successful trial of the app so far, and I definitely recommend other businesses to look into OK positive and try it for themselves.”