If every employee in the UK was just one percent happier, it could add an extra £24bn to the UK economy per year, boosting the profits of the average company of 10,000 staff by £7.38m.

That’s according to app developer Psychological Technologies, a London-based company which has raised £598K of £600k target.

George MacKerron, a UK-based academic specialising in what he calls the economics of happiness, created an app called me@mybest to try to increase people’s happiness.

While studying for his PhD at the London School of Economics, MacKerron launched an iPhone app-based research project called Mappiness designed to measure well being against environmental factors.  

It is the world’s largest study into momentary happiness, with 3.5m data points. The results showed that working was the cause of the greatest unhappiness, second only to being ill in bed.

The company applied their methodology to the 10 largest companies in the UK by revenue to see how much increasing work force happiness levels would increase yearly revenue.

Company Happiness revenue
BP £702m
Legal and General Group £391m
Tesco £338m
Aviva £280m
Vodafone Group £252m
Unilever £256m
Prudential £211m
Lloyds Banking Group £204m
HSBC Holdings £210m
SSE £146m
Total £2.9bn

 

To try to change this, MacKerron joined forces with Nick Begley, former head of research at Headspace, another wellness app that had some 6m users as of April 2016, to create me@mybest.

MacKerron told Verdict: 

Nick knows about making people happier and I understand how to measure how happy they are.

Me@mybest is designed to help people feel more content in the workplace.

Two thirds of organisations in the UK will implement a well being strategy by 2020, according to the latest employee well being report published by consultancy Punter Southall Health & Protection,

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MacKerron told Verdict there has been some interest in the app.

Two financial institutions in the UK use the app already. We have had interest from UK supermarkets and public bodies as well as from academics who are interested in the app for research use. We’d also love to see members of the civil service use the app.

The UK government has championed employee well being. I know that other governments around the world are interested in improving their citizen’s well being. In Dubai for example last year they had their first global happiness dialogue as part of their world government summit.

We have found that a one percent increase in happiness scores translates to a half percent increase in productivity scores. So by very simply taking that increase in productivity, we have assumed that corresponds to an increase in revenue.

Begley points to recent analysis that suggests mental health issues are costing the UK economy £99bn a year:

Our research takes it one step further and shows improving the happiness of everyone, just slightly, could have a dramatic impact too.

We want to show businesses how improving the mental well being of their employees links directly to profitability within their own companies, giving them permission to make the investments needed to help solve this problem.

The technology we’ve developed also provides detailed insights on how to create the best culture and offer effective, scalable, low-cost interventions to immediately boost well being. We’re now looking to roll out our technology more widely.