Frequently asked questions
Is mental wellbeing really something an employer should take responsibility for? Isn’t it something better managed off the clock?
Taking care of your staff is one of your biggest responsibilities as an employer. Mental wellbeing is an important (if often ignored) piece of the puzzle. You wouldn’t expect employees to be at their most productive with a terrible head cold. Likewise you shouldn’t expect them to turn around their best work when dealing with stress. Not only is it likely that they are (dealing with stress), it’s also probable that they’d like some help. According to the American Stress Institute, roughly half of stressed workers admit to needing help learning how to manage stress, with another 42% saying their coworkers do. And helping employees manage their stress makes good business sense because not only does day-to-day stress impact employees’ overall wellbeing, it hurts their performance and engagement at work. Studies show it’s also a major factor in burnout, absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover at companies of all sizes and according to Deloitte Consulting, ultimately costs UK businesses around £40bn each year. Per Reuters, mental health problems are expected to cost the global economy $16 trillion by 2030. Which is why investing in employee mental health and wellbeing must become a priority for companies who want to survive and prosper. It’s also an excellent investment. On average, companies receive a £5 return for every £1 spent on employee mental health and wellbeing.
This explains why mental health has become one of the fastest growing focus areas for companies–with 57% of employers planning to increase their focus on mental and behavioural health to a ‘great’ or ‘very great’ extent over the next three years as reported by global advisory Willis Towers Watson and cited at Workforce.com.
With Koa Foundations, employers can provide their teams with a set of practical, science-based tools that are easily accessed from the comfort of a phone, when and where is most convenient for employees.
How can spending (even more) time on the phone help with stress?
It’s easy to blame our phones for our increased stress. However, recent studies suggest that it’s not the technology that causes poor mental health, but rather, what we do with it—for example, mindfulness activities on smartphones have been shown to reduce loneliness.
Koa Foundations makes access to mental wellbeing easy for employees and cost-effective for companies. With Foundations in their pockets, your team can learn and practise new techniques to incorporate healthy habits in their day-to-day and monitor their progress for useful insights.
Who’s behind the app?
Foundations is brought to you by Koa Health. To learn more about the company, our CEO, and our leadership team, visit the Koa Health website.
The product team behind Koa Health is based in Barcelona, the US and the UK. Our team of experienced designers and engineers work hard (and smart) to ensure engaging UX and UI - all based on Material Design - and high-quality code.
All content is written by our expert mental health team, made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, neuroscientists, behavioural scientists and researchers. You can find out more about some of our content authors (like Silvina, Claudia and Sophie) in their bios on our blog.
How do we know it works?
All of the programmes and activities on the app are carefully curated by our team of scientists and based on techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy, positive psychology and meditation and mindfulness that have been successfully used in clinical practice for years.
Furthermore, our research team has conducted multiple studies to evaluate the Koa Foundations app itself. Towards the end of 2019, we ran a pilot study with 20 users using Foundations for a few minutes a day, for a period of two weeks. We measured their stress using the perceived stress scale (PSS-10) before they began using Foundations, then after week 1 and week 2. We saw impressive results, with nine out of ten users reducing their perceived stress from the start of the study, and an average reduction of 7 points (on a 40 point scale). We replicated this study in the first quarter of 2020 and obtained similar data.
Early in 2020, we conducted a larger (n=180) randomised control trial (RCT) in the United Kingdom and were pleased to see a positive impact on anxiety, stress, resilience, sleep, wellbeing and overall life satisfaction. We are still in the process of publishing the results. Additionally, we are currently collaborating with third parties on further RCTs to continue to build on the evidence. If you’d like to see a copy of the report once it has been published, or you would be interested in collaborating with Koa Foundations on further research, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why does mental wellbeing matter?
Studies show that not only does day-to-day stress hurt employees’ overall wellbeing, it’s harmful to their performance at work, too. Stress also reduces engagement and increases turnover at companies of all sizes. For more in-depth information on this subject, download our white paper on workplace stress.
Have a team that’s suffering from stress or poor mental wellbeing? Get mental wellbeing support your team can use wherever and whenever works best for them with Foundations. Help your staff help themselves with access to engaging wellness tools that aren’t a chore to use.
How do you protect my data? Who can access it?
Your employer doesn’t have access to your private information, or data about when, how, or if, you personally use the app. We do provide aggregated reports of all employee data, which is anonymised to employers. These reports help employers see how well the app is working and identify areas for improvement, but it does not allow them to see how (or what) any individual is doing.
Additionally, our internal ethics committee at Koa Health has developed a set of ethical principles and commitments, and works closely with the Foundations team to ensure the highest standards in security, privacy and ethics.
Isn’t stress the company’s fault, anyway?
Stress comes at us from all over the place. And frankly, most of it feels like it’s outside our control, at work and at home. We understand. Sometimes it feels impossible to just ‘‘fix’ something that’s stressing you out.
Still, more often than not, it’s not really what happens to us, but how we react to it that affects us the most. That’s one of the many reasons that two employees with the same role and workload can have completely different levels of stress. We love the way this is explained in depth in Lisa Feldman Barrett’s Ted Talk, 'You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions—your brain creates them’.
It’s because of this that we believe building resilience benefits everyone. How you handle what life throws at you—inside or outside of the workplace—is key to mental wellbeing. That’s why where it’s possible to deal with work-related stress in a specific and targeted way, we’re 1000% here for it and think you should be, too. Of course, when there’s something in particular that’s causing problems for you at work, we’d also recommend you speak to a manager. We can’t get rid of stress altogether, but we can change how we deal with it, and having access to the right tools can help a lot. That’s where Foundations comes in with science-backed practical tools to help you handle the ups and downs of your day-to-day on your own terms.
How soon will I see benefits?
You’re unique, so it’s no surprise that your experience will be, too. We’re all individuals here, and it’s completely normal for everyone to move forward at their own rate.
How quickly you notice changes in your overall wellbeing and how you handle stress will depend on your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the amount of time you’re willing or able to commit to a wellbeing practice.
The majority of Foundations users feel better after completing a single activity. However, the best way to see benefits is to make a habit of working on your wellbeing in the app for a few minutes at least three or four times a week. In studies we’ve run to date, we’ve seen users’ perceived stress reducing in as little as two weeks, using Foundations for around five minutes a day.
How often is content updated?
Our team of experts work on adding new activities to Foundations every few weeks, and existing content is reviewed on an ongoing basis – at least every 3 months.
We base our content (and features) on your feedback and regularly conduct usability testing, concept testing and diary studies so that we can hear first hand what’s working, and what’s not. Ultimately, your feedback is what helps shape the app and content, so if you have ideas or areas you’d like to see improved, we’d love to hear from you at email@example.com!
How can I contact you?
You can contact us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to help you with any technical issues, receive your feedback and help you resolve any other concerns you may have about the app.
How can I manage my notifications settings?
Opt in (or out) to notifications during the Foundations onboarding process. We’re also currently working on a feature to allow you to decide when you’d like to schedule them.