The Moodbeam One wristband enables construction firms to monitor their workers' health by logging moods and tracking emotional wellbeing
Wearable technology could soon be used for monitoring the health of construction workers – putting employee wellbeing at the centre of a post-coronavirus industry strategy.
It has teamed up with UK framework organisation Pagabo to trial the technology for site workers, whose mental health and wellbeing has been cited as a key concern for the industry to consider in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moodbeam co-founder and director Jonathan Elvidge said: “We have many different use cases where our technology is being employed, and it’s proving to be a unique wellbeing tool for individuals but an equally powerful engagement tool for organisations.
“However, in this case Moodbeam is being used to allow site workers to report how their work impacts on their day, which shows the aggregated mood of the site and how this links to site safety and productivity.”
How Moodbeam One could be used for monitoring health of construction workers
The Hull-based start-up was founded in 2016 by Gadget Shop founder and Red5 co-founder Elvidge, and former journalist Christina Colmer McHugh.
She came up with the idea after her daughter became anxious at school. This made Colmer McHugh want to know how the seven-year-old was feeling when she wasn’t with her.
The wristband device invented by the duo, known as Moodbeam One, won the innovation partnership category at the 2019 Barclays Entrepreneur Awards.
Using a companion app, it allows users to log their mood and monitor their emotional wellbeing.
It links wirelessly to a paired device to give insights into how moods change over time, showing patterns and trends that can be shared with trusted family members, friends and colleagues to help create a plan for making positive changes.
Moodbeam’s partnership with Pagabo will aid construction workers’ health and wellbeing
Moodbeam’s partnership with Pagabo, a framework organisation for streamlining public sector construction projects that operates nationally from its Hull base, follows a report by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) last month showing that mental health issues will become critical in the fallout from Covid-19.
Titled Understanding Mental Health in the Building Environment, it included research from August 2019, before the pandemic, in which 26% of construction workers said they had experienced suicidal thoughts and 97% had experienced stress over the previous year.
This is driving more attention in the industry towards improving the wellbeing of its workforce.
A series of trials have been planned by Pagabo to test how the Moodbeam technology can be used to improve the way construction projects are managed throughout all stages while also benefiting employees’ mental health.
The tests involve a cross-section of the industry – including on-site project teams, off-site manufacturing teams, remote workers and subcontractors.
The first round of on-site trials was completed before the Covid-19 pandemic on live projects led by Morgan Sindall Construction and Willmott Dixon, two contractors involved in Pagabo’s major works framework.
Staff were provided with a Moodbeam One wristband, funded by Pagabo’s innovation fund, and used it to track if they were having a good or bad day at work in real time. Morgan Sindall has said it will use the technology to examine root causes into any workplace issues and help make reforms in the industry in the long term.
Trials also took place with subcontractor M2 Civils and manufacturer ECO Modular Buildings. A second round of trials was set to take place over the past two months but were put on hold due to the pandemic.
Colmer McHugh said: “Moodbeam is already being used within health and social care, education and workplaces, but this is the first time that Moodbeam has been used on live construction sites and we are delighted to be partnering with Pagabo to help make a change in the sector by working towards improved wellbeing for all.”
Why monitoring the health of construction workers is important
Pagabo chief executive Simon Toplass added: “Everyone involved in these trials recognises that to instigate real change in the industry we need to listen to the voice of all people involved in delivering a project. This includes consultants, manufacturers, contractors and sub-contractors.
“The industry is starting to talk about the pressure that is felt by its workforce, and this pioneering initiative starts to provide a way of staying in tune with how staff are feeling.
“The data captured during the trials is completely anonymous and will be used to highlight any challenges and stress points on-site, as well as capturing when things are going well.
“There are so many things that can affect whether workers will have a good or bad day – from weather factors to deadlines, long periods of remote working to unsocial shift patterns – so the Moodbeam One allows a really simple way for people to feedback.
“Now, as sites are reopening and sections of the workforce are returning to work, the Covid-19 pandemic has created added pressures for people, which will impact their wellbeing both in and out of work.
“The wristband design allows workers to have a voice through discreet, anonymous feedback – through simply pushing a single button.”