The announcement, made on Thursday to coincide with World Mental Health Day, is WPP Health’s latest initiative to improve workplace well-being.

Those taking part in the three-month trial, which will involve staff in London, Milan and Sydney, will be given a wearable monitor that will collect data such as heart-rate variability, respiration, number of steps taken and the amount of sleep.

Health tech

They will use an app to track and input their levels of anxiety, not only during working hours but also during weekends and evenings.

The app uses AI to provide personalized insights and solutions to reduce stress and improve well-being.

BioBeats will provide aggregated and anonymized data to WPP Health, with the results helping to determine areas in which the company can invest to further develop mental-health support for its staff.

Wider context

This comes amid mounting concern over mental health, with new research released by Public Health England this week revealing that more than eight in 10 Britons (83%) have experienced symptoms of poor mental health in the past year.

Earlier this year a PRWeek-PRCA study found that 60% of PR professionals said they have suffered or been diagnosed with mental ill-health.

New research released on Thursday by the PRCA and Optimum revealed that nine of out 10 PR professionals are “struggling with mental wellbeing.”

This week PHE, in partnership with the NHS, launched Every Mind Matters. Backed by the royal family and a host of businesses and organizations, it is the first government-led national campaign intended to help prevent people from developing long-term mental-health problems.

Investing in wellbeing

The new partnership with BioBeats is the latest phase in what is a priority area for WPP Health: the well-being of its staff.

Last year, it launched a wellness lab at its London headquarters, which it describes as “a living laboratory where new products and services are prototyped with a workforce of almost 400, translating guidelines and recommendations into behaviors.”

Staff are supported with weekly breathing classes to combat stress and boost psychological health, as well as Mind Matters workshops, one-to-one counseling sessions and regular yoga classes.

“This partnership allows us to apply evidence-based behavioral science to an increasingly critical area for any agency or company: mental health,” said Claire Gillis, international chief executive of WPP Health Practice. “We’ve been successfully operating well-being pilots around our networks and are keen to combine these initiatives with the latest health-tech solutions.”

“WPP Health Practice has already started to roll out developed initiatives to workplace well-being and will be able to use BioBeats data to further prioritize its resources to target meaningful areas,” said David Plans, founder and CEO of BioBeats. “As we all move towards the future, and the definition of what it means to ‘work’ evolves, data on employee mental health and well-being will form an integral part of any successful corporate strategy.”

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