An app-based study of UK employees by research company Psychological Technologies (PSYT) has quantified the potential value of happiness.
The study showed that if every employee in the country was just 1% happier, it could result in an extra £24bn going into the UK economy every year, boosting the profits of the average company of 10k staff by an extra £7.38m.
With UK productivity stalling, and the country facing a “significant” mental health challenge - could a focus on workplace wellbeing hold the key to both?
The study was conducted by Nick Begley, former head of research at Headspace, and Dr. George MacKerron, expert in the economics of happiness. While at LSE, MacKerron ran the world’s largest study into momentary happiness, Mappiness, and found that working is the nation’s unhappiest activity, second only to being ill in bed.
To solve this problem, they set up PSYT and built me@mybest - an app designed to better measure and improve psychological wellbeing in the workplace.
The study tracked the mood of more than 1,500 employees, asking respondents to reflect on their wellbeing briefly throughout the day, over a period of four weeks.
From more than 56,000 responses, PSYT was able to develop a unique understanding of workplace environments and what creates happier and more productive staff.
According to PSYT’s study, a 1% increase in happiness equates to a value of £738 per employee per year to the average company, from productivity gains and staff turnover reductions alone.
Beyond the actions of the individual, the research also found workplace culture had a significant impact. Having a supportive team and personally buying into the mission of the company were important factors in predicting employee happiness.
Nick Begley, co-founder of PSYT, said: “Recent analysis suggests mental health issues are costing the UK economy up to £99bn a year. Our research takes it one step further and shows improving the happiness of everyone, just slightly, could have a dramatic impact too. We want to show businesses how improving the mental wellbeing of their employees links directly to profitability within their own companies, giving them permission to make the investments needed to help solve this problem.
“The technology we’ve developed also provides detailed insights on how to create the best culture and offer effective, scalable, low-cost interventions to immediately boost wellbeing. We’re now looking to roll out our technology more widely.”
With two thirds of organisations planning to implement a wellbeing strategy by 2020, the company is currently raising investment to expand, and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to take me@mybest to more businesses around the world.
PSYT has now opened its public Seedrs campaign, with over 75% (£460k) of the £600k crowdfunding target already secured.
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