Mad At Work

Mental Health and Productivity Boosting in the Workplace: a combined approach to employee collaboration, engagement and mental health.

In any one year … one in six workers is likely to be suffering from a mental health condition.

The Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, 2017

Project Background

The Problem

Stress Is Expensive

A healthy and motivated workforce is the key to enterprise success. Not only because people are more productive and engaged, but also because it means less costs for employers and the society:

  • Up to 50 % of all lost working days are linked to stress
  • In the USA, job stress alone is estimated to cost companies $300 billion a year in employee turnover, absenteeism, diminished productivity and direct medical, legal and insurance fees
  • In Europe, work-related accidents and illnesses costs are €476 billion a year and presenteeism (coming to work, but not focusing on work) is at least twice as costly as illness-related absenteeism or disability
  • Additionally, work-related depression costs were estimated to be €617 billion annually

Driven by digitalization, labour in any sector is becoming increasingly about knowledge. The changes in the perception of employees are already here too:

  • Old paradigm of workers being resources, which are easy to replace, is no longer valid.
  • Employees are now value-creating capital and their replacement is costly. This is amplified by the shrinking labour pool (in the west), rising wages (in the east) and socio-economic global developments

Individual Stress Mitigation –
The Tip Of The Iceberg

At present, there are solutions that help to reduce stress at work. However, they focus only on individual-level stress mitigation. Among them are well-known practices like mindfulness exercises, breathing techniques, jooga, meditation and many other.

Even though fighting with individual stress might seem like an option, its benefits for companies and employees are short-term, as the cause of the problem stays present. Constant work overload or environmental discomfort will continue to be the source of anxiety. Therefore, it is important to direct the  attention to the actual stressors – to identify and decrease them.

A stress-free environment that supports high productivity seems to appear on the horizon with the latest technology advancements. Yet the existing stress detection solutions came out from the short-term studies, being not mature enough for continuous and dynamic real-life applications.

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Proposed Solution

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Towards An Empathic Workplace Culture

The Mad@Work project will take the next step towards unobtrusive, privacy-safe solutions for diverse working environments. It will develop Novel Human Capital Management concepts to improve employees’ well-being and facilitate empathic workplace culture, collaboration and psychological safety.

The new technological approaches will be monitoring the environmental quality via unobtrusive sensors, embedded into work environment and personal devices, in order to ensure office comfort. They will also continuously assess personal conditions over time, anonymously aggregating the data into an organisational barometer. The barometer will show overall employees dissatisfaction for HR in a timely manner. This will facilitate an empathic work culture and better workload distribution.

Mad@Work solutions will be developed and tested in long-term pilots in the course of normal work life of knowledge workers.

  • Real-time visualization

    Organizational Barometer

    A continuously updating, data-driven well-being map (including organization’s stress level and work environment) for organization-level actions

  • Individual benefits

    Personal Tools

    Recognize cumulative / excessive load, enable self-regulation and environmental comfort

  • Ethical approach

    Data-driven Technology

    Unobtrusive, privacy-safe and ethically aligned design to monitor and detect mental health conditions (esp. stress) and identify stressors in the work conditions.


Expected Results

Revolutionizing The Workplace

The key results of the project will be products and services that facilitate employee collaboration, engagement and mental health simultaneously – an innovation that does not yet exist.

  • The project aims to achieve 80% assessment accuracy of long-term personal conditions and trends by unobtrusive sensors. This will significantly improve the State-of-the-Art of the current solutions
  • As the User Experience is crucial for the on-boarding and technology acceptance, Mad@Work will ensure privacy protection, convenience and ease-of-use
  • The subsequent improvements to quality of life will result in less absenteeism and greater productivity, as well as lower healthcare costs
  • Mad@Work will allow companies to gain access to new markets, for example, Human Resource Management and insurance (the former market is estimated to reach USD 30.0 billion by 2025, and the latter to reach USD 1009.28 billion by 2023 at a compound annual growth rates of 10% and 7% respectively).

Overall, this represents excellent opportunities for individuals, businesses and society at large. The results will bring about the increase in employment, productivity and actual retirement age, reducing the healthcare costs.

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The project’s consortium consists of 18+ international industry and research leaders

Project duration: 01/09/2020 – 01/06/2023
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