You can measure your position at the two-dimensional view of workplace wellbeing

two dimensional view on the workplace wellbeing, Moodmetric

It possible to burn out of a dream job. For years you gave all your energy and full passion to the work, you thought you could carry on forever. Suddenly you find yourself at home, on a sick leave, with no idea when you will be capable of returning to work. How did this happen?

The two-dimensional view of workplace wellbeing explains how this is possible. The above picture has first been presented by Peter Warr.. In Finland it has been applied in research by professor Jari Hakanen from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

This fourfold is familiar to many psychologists but it is new to combine with physiological measurements. Did you know that you can measure your position on this map of workplace wellbeing?

The two-dimensional view of workplace wellbeing

Workplace wellbeing has two axes. The vertical axis represents stress/activation. The amount of activation increases when going upwards along the axis. Here it is not yet known what the mood is.

The vertical axis shows whether the mood is positive or negative. On the left hand side are the negative feelings, on the right hand side the positive. Neutral is in the middle. (Neutral is also a totally okay mood at work!)

Which segment are you in?

Everyone can reflect their own wellbeing with the help of this field. The segments of it are explained below. Read and think where you find yourself in your work or studies.

dimensions of wellbeing, upper right

At the upper right corner your employer thinks you are at the right spot. Also many employees, entrepreneurs and students think that this is the one and only place to be. Employees who show high engagement level are emotionally and mentally connected to their organization, work harder, stay longer, and motivate others to do the same.

dimensions of wellbeing, lower right

At the lower right corner there is less speed and and energy, but the feeling is good. A typical day can reside here for many of us. Often it is focus and concentration that makes us productive, without running ahead full speed. Working from home is often a way for better focus. When did you last time work a full day without interruptions? How did it feel, what did you achieve?

dimensions of wellbeing, upper left

At the upper left corner the negative feelings have taken over. Stress might already be getting chronic and the pressure is high. The job performance is still high but there can be feelings of anxiety and insufficiency. One might feel tired and have sleep and memory problems. Still the calendar is and stays full and whatever one does, it does not seem to be enough.

dimensions of wellbeing, lower left

At the lower left corner the body has hit the alarm panic button. Reactions get mild or end up totally. It is hard to get anything done. Nothing feels fun or exciting, it is difficult to get up in the morning. Sleep disorders persist, and the short sleep gained does not refresh. Social relationships suffer, hobbies are left aside, it would be nice just to be alone.

The two-dimensional view of workplace wellbeing works outside the work, too

Did you reflect the above, the status of your own workplace wellbeing? Could you position yourself to one of the segments of this field?

Now do the same thinking to other aspects of life. Where are you as a family member, a friend, a member of a community? What things give you energy, which make you recover? Which activities bring you to the right, towards positive feelings?

Can one measure the dimensions of workplace wellbeing?

There are meters for the vertical axis of the two-dimensional view of workplace wellbeing. The Moodmetric technology gives data of stress/arousal on a scale of 1 to 100. The lowest Moodmetric level is at the bottom of the field, whereas the level 100 means running on a full speed.

Moodmetric level 100

The Moodmetric data gives automatically your position on the vertical axis of the two-dimensional view of workplace wellbeing. The Moodmetric measurement is like a positioning system of your wellbeing.

There are not yet measurement devices that would in daily life tell what one feels. Facial recognition technologies can detect emotions, but they can not be used continuously and in long term. Thus the horizontal axis real-time position can currently only be determined subjectively.

Moodmetric Diary_Mood

The horizontal axis is important when estimating wellbeing of the person at work. The Moodmetric app Diary feature helps the user to weigh whether the feeling related to an event is positive or negative.

How to make a Moodmetric app Diary entry and how to view the entries at one glance?

Making a Moodmetric app Diary entry is easy. The phone calendar entries can be imported or notes can be added one by one. An entry can be done for any area of life. Below as an example, a workday:

A Moodmetric Diary entry

All the Diary entries are collected to the Moodmetric app Analytics feature. The more entries one makes, the closer the look at one´s life. The entries are shown category by category at a two-dimensional view. The app positions the categories automatically at the correct spot based on the measured Moodmetric level and the self evaluated mood.

Moodmetric app, Analytics
The Analytics feature of the Moodmetric app gives your position on the two dimensional field of the workplace wellbeing

The Moodmetric Diary can be used to estimate own wellbeing at work, at leisure, during sleep or at any other important area of life.

The Moodmetric Analytics is an analogy of the two dimensional view of the workplace wellbeing. In addition, it makes the analysis and positioning automatically.

Are you interested in applications of the Moodmetric measurement?

The Moodmetric measurement is used for preventive stress management in companies. It is a tool for data based individual wellbeing. You can also get an overview of stress levels of a team or the entire organization. The Moodmetric smart ring is also widely used in research.

Do you have a specific use case in mind? Ask more, whether about workplace wellbeing or research.

Contact information:

Henna Salonius
[email protected]

Go to the Moodmetric Shop

Is preventing burnout the responsibility of the employer or the employee?

Moodmetric-blogi: IOnko vastuu työuupumuksen ennaltaehkäisyssä työnantajalla vai työntekijällä?

As a young team leader, it was difficult for me to understand family life. Having no kids, I could spend a lot of my time and energy on work, since my evenings were free of responsibilities. Having no personal experience, I had no idea of the chaos and amount of work awaiting a parent, especially mothers, on return to home after a day at the office.  

Also, luckily enough, not everyone has experienced firsthand the mental mental burden of having to go through a divorce or a family member falling seriously ill. Big life changes always affect your work too and can take away, for a long time, the joy and satisfaction you experience in your work.

Someone in a leading position can, of course, have a family and big challenges in life too; we all know life can be really hard sometimes. This does not mean, however, that all managers understand why burnouts happen. We’re all individuals, we do not react to the same issues in the same way. To enforce the argument, I’m sure everyone can think of someone they know who seemingly navigates through life without appearing to experience significant amount of stress.

What are the consequences of having a boss who never seems to be stressed out?

It can lead to behaviour such as mine as a young leader without kids, not being empathic enough to understand how strongly and wholly stress affects both free time and work.

Whether or not a manager experiences stress themselves, s/he has the duty to actively observe employees to see if the burden is getting too big. If signs appear, the first step is have a discussion with the employee in question.

The Finnish Occupational Safety and Health Act No. 738/2002, Section 8, describes the employers’ general duty to exercise care:

“Employers shall continuously monitor the working environment, the state of the working community and the safety of the work practices. Employers shall also monitor the impact of the measures put into practice on safety and health at work.”

But how do you define and measure the issues employees find stressful? Moreover, which of these can be argued to be issues the employer can control?

The employer has control over many things that can cause stress, such as company culture, salary policy or physical environment

The most important issues in this respect are equality, integrity and the sense of fairness. Equality needs to be understood broadly, consisting of gender and salary equality, equal opportunities for career advancement and raises, and fair division of tasks and responsibilities.

It is also the duty of the employer to ensure that there is a fair balance between a job description, the skills and competences of an employee, and the objectives of the employer.

Without a doubt, providing a safe and suitable physical environment for the job required is the responsibility of the employer. There are many issues to consider, but let me raise one: In the open office plans of today, is enough consideration taken to secure an environment devoid of disruption and noise for work requiring concentration?

Company culture, ways of working and organizational structure are defined and controlled by the employer, having a big impact on the well-being of an employee.

It is also the employer’s responsibility to continuously monitor the work atmosphere among the employees.

Not all factors related to well-being can be expressed as clearly set rules: The boss just needs to stay alert. Minea Ahlroth, who has studied harassment and discrimination at work, writes:

“A manager has the duty to mingle with the employees, taking the pulse of the organization   and making note of the different emerging signals.” (Ahlroth et. al. 2015, 90)

What if the employer does things by the book? All structures, salary policy, positions and ways of working are fair. The atmosphere is good, for the most part the staff seems to like both their work and the workplace. The employer can not detect shortcomings.

Being responsible for your own well-being is not a choice, it is a must

An employer has a huge responsibility for their staff. They are required to create a workplace that promotes equality and enables employees to achieve a successful work-life balance. A forward-looking employer supports an individual in many other ways too.

In turn, the employees need to tell when things are not going well.

prevent burnout

Everyone able to take part in working life has the responsibility to take care of themselves and their own well-being.

Why? Because an employer cannot know everything that is going on in one’s life. No matter how good the employer, they cannot optimize the work conditions for everyone, let alone their life outside of work. Everyone’s life has shorter or longer periods when one’s mental load is bigger than the opportunities for recovery.

How do we tackle stress at Moodmetric

At Moodmetric the mental well-being is the responsibility of both the employer and employee. But what are the concrete actions?

Naturally the method of measuring stress levels is something available for everyone. This is not obligatory, but it can be done all the time or when the person so desires. Some of us have been wearing the Moodmetric ring continuously for over 4 years now.

The greatest value from the Moodmetric measurement can be derived when the mental load is high. When the stress levels creep up, the person is like a crab in a kettle set to boil – a person does not recognize the heat build up over time.

What can the employee do?

When the Moodmetric levels get higher than recommended, the first thing an employer would need to do is to take action to lower the levels. What are these actions?

We are all individuals, which means that we need to find our own individual ways to lower our stress levels. This is where the Moodmetric real-time measurement proves to be a helpful tool: An individual learns the things which raise and lower their stress levels. Employing some commonly known ways to alleviate stress, such as getting more sleep and enjoying open air activities and nature is a good way to start one’s journey of self-discovery.

And what is the role of the employer?

What are the responsibilities of an employer to support an individual’s search for balance? The best results can be achieved by the employer supporting the individual in the measures s/he has chosen. If there is a need for some days off or shorter workdays or weeks, there should be a way to try and find an optimum solution for all. Personalized options are the key: Even longer breaks during workdays can have a significant effect on productivity.

The goal is common

The employer and employee should work together to prevent chronic stress and often long absences due to burnout. A single burnout is a grave symptom and requires immediate actions in the workplace. The reputation of a company can be severely impacted by its employees going public about their stress and lack of well-being.

Both employees and companies have the common goal of preserving health, attaining a positive mindset and longevity of life. Employees with a healthy work-life balance help companies and organizations to prosper. A happy and healthy employee spreads positive attitude around him or her. In the end, it is, for example, our families who emerge as the ultimate beneficiaries if our well-being at work is taken care of.

Ask us about the Moodmetric-measurement

Moodmetric smart ring – Finnish know-how at its best

Moodmetric smart ring is a Finnish invention

The Moodmetric smart ring is a prime example of Finnish innovation in the area of health technology. Vigofere Oy was set up as a company five years ago to commercialize the invention of Henry Rimminen, D.Sc., who had developed a smart ring which measures electrodermal activity (EDA). The ability to measure, outside of test laboratory conditions, the electricity that your body emits was revolutionary and 2013 saw the birth of the first prototype for further development.

Moodmetric smart ring black and turquoise
The Mooodmetric smart ring is a Finnish health tech innovation
How It All Begun

As a researcher at Aalto University, Henry Rimminen had worked on various sensors and methods for measuring physiological activity. Fitness trackers were a growing trend and devices based on measuring heart rate had been available for consumers for some time already.

Measuring electrodermal activity had been in research use for over a hundred years, but there were no practical applications of the measurement method on the market for consumers. It was this challenge that Henry Rimminen aimed to solve.

Inventor of the Moodmetric smart ring D.Sc. Henry Rimminen
Inventor of the Moodmetric smart ring D.Sc. Henry Rimminen

Our bodies react to external stimuli, both psychological and physical. This triggers off the sympathetic nervous system, the activity of which can be measured by how the eccrine (very tiny) sweat glands respond. These glands are dense on the palm of our hands, making them the optimum location to place the measuring sensor on.

EDA, or skin conductance, is a phenomenon which was discovered by two researchers, Charles Vigoroux and Richard Féré in the late 19th century. The name of the company, Vigofere Oy, was derived from the names of these two trailblazers.

The Challenges

In laboratory conditions EDA is measured by placing electrodes on the skin, usually on the tip of two fingers. For an accurate reading, no movement is allowed.

To develop a consumer product, Henry Rimminen had to overcome several challenges:
• Downsizing the measuring device from the size of a block of cheese to as small as possible.
• Instead of restricting the use of two fingers, the device had to be effortless to wear in everyday life.
• The results should not be affected by physical movement.
• Data transfer should be wireless.

Early prototypes of the Moodmetric smart ring
Early prototypes

In the autumn of 2015 the first commercial version of the Moodmetric smart ring was launched. It was the result of many iterative rounds of research and development. Once the electronics and measuring capability were deemed robust enough, designer Vesa Nilsson provided the ring its Scandinavian look and feel. Vesa Nilsson is famous for transformational and clean design. For further information, see Oz Jewel.

Data Management

One of the key principles Henry Rimminen followed right from the start was ease of use: It was imperative that the data the ring collects could be effortlessly retrieved, read and managed. Developing an application running on a smart phone was the next logical step.

The mobile application had to incorporate two basic elements:
• The index with the numeric values 1-100 is calculated from the raw data and show the alertness level of the person wearing the ring. High numeric figures signify stress or excitement, low figures a sense of calm.
• A round diagram demonstrates the fluctuation of the stress levels during 12-hour intervals. The use of colour make it easy to visualize, in one glance, the different levels of alertness, sliding from red for high levels on the outer peripheral of the diagram to the light greens of low stress levels on the inner circle of the diagram. For further information on the Moodmetric index and data interpretation, see here.

Vigofere Oy/Moodmetric today

Vigofere Oy has been in business for over five years and has a fully Finnish ownership. R&D is all done in Finland, as is the assembly and packing of the product too.

Moodmetric serves consumers, researchers, companies and health professionals globally.

The Moodmetric smart ring can be purchased from the Moodmetric webshop and the mobile application can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.

For companies and health professionals Moodmetric provides a measuring service for preventive stress management. Research institutes have been the first to utilize the technology and the ring in their work. For further information see our research page.

Stress is a positive thing, when it is well balanced. Our mission at Moodmetric is to help each and everyone to find their individual and optimum way to manage stress in all situations. Our goal is to significantly reduce the negative effects of chronic stress on individual, organizational and societal levels.
We at Moodmetric believe that the world can be saved from a state of chronic stress with Finnish health technology.

Buy the Moodmetric smart ring

Ask more about Moodmetric services for companies and occupational health: [email protected] / +358 44 309 6997