Hundreds of Australian businesses are competing against each other in a free month-long health challenge designed to help employees improve their mental wellbeing using AI.
Australia’s Healthiest Workplace Challenge, which launched today, is led by corporate health and wellness technology provider ShaeWellness and offers teams of 20 people or more free access to its tech as part of a 30-day challenge.
Matt Riemann, founder of ShaeWellness, tells SmartCompany the program begins with a visual health assessment that draws on physical features, such as eye colour, skin texture and body weight.
“Our AI called Shae then interactively guides and supports employees’ lifestyles and mental health needs, it’s like Siri for your health,” Riemann says.
Shae advises participants in the challenge about their diet, sleep habits and mindfulness, as well as measures how much workers’ health outcomes improve.
Each week, participants are rewarded based on their performance, and at the end of the month the top 10 businesses receive prizes from ShaeWellness, with the winning company earning the title of Australia’s Healthiest Workplace.
‘A mental health pandemic’
Riemann says the free challenge, which is sponsored by Performance by Design, Two Lions Consulting and EnPerSo Business Travel among others, will help tens of thousands of employees improve their mental health after a challenging year.
“There’s a significant mental health pandemic that we’re seeing post-COVID-19,” he says.
“Right now, it’s really important for all Australian businesses to be having a conversation around mental health, and to be looking after the mental health of their employees.”
Recent research by Employment Hero found that 56% of employers and 57% employees have felt stressed about COVID-19 in the past six-months, with these levels increasing to 72% among employees under the age of 35.
Employment Hero’s survey of 5,700 employees in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Singapore, and Malaysia, found that Australian employees were the least unhappy, scoring a -18.8 happiness score while the UK and Singapore scored -37.8 and -34.4 in their happiness scores, respectively.
Andrea Davey, chief executive of Scout Talent Recruitment Software, is encouraging her team of 80 staff to participate in the Australia’s Healthiest Workplace Challenge.
“We’re a tech company and we’re people first, so it’s a natural fit for us,” Davey tells SmartCompany.
Davey says last year was “extremely challenging and stressful for everyone” which is why she’s using the challenge to “give back” to her employees, and support them in prioritising their health.
“They are super excited, I came into the office this morning and I could see people taking their photos and logging in to the app,” she says.
“There’s a real buzz and energy around the office today.”
Scout Talent’s staff are overwhelmingly supportive of the program and the way it offers personalised advice that goes beyond weight loss.
“They love that it’s about more than physical health, that it addresses both your physical and mental wellbeing,” she says.
Founded in 2003, ShaeWellness offers public and private companies health precision technology to improve mental and physical health among staff. The business currently provides services to organisation in more than 120 countries around the world.
Registrations for Australia’s Healthiest Workplace Challenge closed June 7 and the program will continue until July 13.