Abstract 

Introducing Recharge:

A web app designed to help you narrow down a specific break activity based on your personal goals and preferences. We designed this to combat the rising issue of workplace burnout from stress.

Users go through a flow, answering questions and completing activities until the recommendation engine leads them to a personalized activity page with their recommended activity and media/information to help them take a productive break.


Problem Space Background

Stressful situations are commonplace in our lives, one major source of stress is related to our jobs. Studies have shown that job stress threatens the health of workers [1]. Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress. – Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine [2]. Extended periods of stress or frequent exposure to stress can cause mental, physiological, and physical illnesses. In addition to health effects, studies show that stressful working conditions are actually associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their jobs-all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line.

Stress management is a critical step in stress recovery and should be incorporated into a regular workday. The traditional methods of stress recovery such as off-work time, weekends, and vacation are effective methods of stress recovery, however, given the high demands of the workplace, micro-breaks taken during work hours can benefit both the worker’s health and the individual’s productivity and job satisfaction. Daily micro-break activities incorporated into the workday demonstrate improved levels of workplace well-being [3]. Supervisor support for recovery further improved the level of stress recovery, therefore pushing for normalization/adoption of at work microbreaks dedicated to stress recovery activities of an organization from the top down will yield the most positive results.

Individuals need a way to incorporate micro-breaks and carry out stress recovery activities (SRA) during the workday because SRA not only improves productivity but also improves the mental, emotional, and physical health of the individual. SRA is also a proven key to preventing workplace burnout.


User Research & Pain Points

Of the 49 users surveyed, 47 out of 49 were willing to try or are already employing stress recovery activity/product in their life. 72% of the surveyed user’s age fell between 25-40, the age distribution of the entire survey population can be summarized by the pie chart in Figure 1.

Forms response chart. Question title: How old are you?. Number of responses: 47 responses.

Figure 1: Age of surveyed users

38 out of 47 willing users reside in North America (23 Canada, 14 USA, and 1 Mexico) with the remaining 9 users from Europe (6 Germany, 1 England, 1 Spain, and 1 Sweden). The surveyed users did not fall under a particular career field or industry, the most number of repeats being 3 users in the Human Resource field, results shown in Figure 2.

Forms response chart. Question title: What is your profession? Put N/A if you are currently unemployed or a student.. Number of responses: 47 responses.

Figure 2: Profession of surveyed users

The pain points of the surveyed users are shown in Figure 3 as follows

  1. Scheduling or lack of time (70.2%)
  2. Forgot due to other priorities (51.1%)
  3. Lack of motivation (40.4%)
  4. Lack of accountability partners (23.4%)
  5. Not knowing what to do to stress relief (19.1%)
Forms response chart. Question title: What is stopping you from doing or doing more stress relieving activities?. Number of responses: 47 responses.

Figure 3: User pain points

Why are breaks so hard and often ineffective in relieving stress?

From user research, we discovered that most participants realize they should take breaks yet don’t. The reason why boils down to 4 main points:

  1. Scheduling or lack of time
  2. Forget due to other priorities
  3. Lack of motivation
  4. Not knowing what activities to do


Solution & Iterations/Pivots

Our team began the product development cycle by trying to tackle the biggest pain points from the top of the list, scheduling or lack of time and forgetfulness. When market research was conducted, there appeared to be a variety of productivity, calendar, scheduling, or reminder products dedicated for this purpose. Due to the complexity of having to interface with a popular calendar product or an existing productivity app, our team collectively decided to pivot away from such a product to one that would be more achievable in the Co.Lab time frame. We decided to focus on tackling #1 and #4 in creating our product. We pivoted our focus to address the pain point of not knowing what to do during a break. 

Our product will focus on connecting users’ wellness goals to appropriate stress recovery activities to assist with achieving the said goal within the context of a microbreak (<30min) to be incorporated into a working day. Recharge was born!

A web app designed to help you narrow down a specific break activity based on your personal goals and preferences. Our product will through a 4 step process determine based on user input the length of break (< 5 min, 5 - 15 min, or 15 - 30 min) and user goals, the type of stress recovery activity (SRA) to be recommended. The delivery of the SRA will be in video format alongside a brief description, timer to gauge break length, and a list of benefits that can result from carrying out said SRA.

The product also includes a feedback screen at the end of the flow in order to gauge activity effectiveness and create a feedback loop for future improvements.


Next Steps

The immediate next steps after delivering the Recharge MVP is as follows:

  1. November 2021 - address usability bugs that were discovered
  2. December 2021 - additional content and features
  3. January 2022 - deploy version 2.0 of Recharge
  4. January 2022 - launch a social media campaign to gain traction
  5. February 2022 - additional content and features
  6. March 2022 - conduct customer survey and market analysis

We have plans of future features such as:

  1. Improved recommendation engine
  2. User-submitted activity ideas
  3. Profile and account creation
  4. Social sharing of break activities


Hi-Fidelity Cover Photo & Screenshots

 Logo

Style Guide

Web App Screenshots

Conclusion

We had a blast working on Recharge and hope this product makes your day a little brighter. To be a part of our wellness journey, please take a look at our web app here and email us your feedback at rechargetheapp@gmail.com. We plan to continue work and development of future features so keep an eye out for Recharge news!


References

[1] Stress… At Work. The National Institute of Occupational Health & Safety 99-101. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-101/default.html#Job%20Stress%20and%20Health

[2] Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer RW, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL, Wasserman J, Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) Research Committee [1998]. The relationship between modifiable health risks and health care expenditures: an analysis of the multi-employer HERO health risk and cost database. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 40(10).

[3] Hunter, E. M., & Wu, C. (2016). Give me a better break: Choosing workday break activities to maximize resource recovery. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(2), 302–311. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000045

[4] Nie, Q., Zhang, J., Peng, J., & Chen, X. (2021). Daily micro-break activities and workplace well-being: A recovery perspective. Current Psychology: A Journal for Diverse Perspectives on Diverse Psychological Issues. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-02300-7

Team Learnings

Product Manager Learnings:

Ping Zhang

Designer Learnings:

Emma Li

Developer Learnings:

Mihail Soltan

Developer's Learnings:

Miguel S

Full Team Learning

During the 8 weeks of our Co.Lab program which went by faster than we had expected, we learned a lot. Not only did we learn how to collaborate within a cross-functional team, we actually managed to deliver a real product and all that while being in two very different time- zones. Together we learned how to identify a problem, come up with several possible solutions, and pick the best one. We learned that communication and careful planning are the keys to the smooth execution and delivery of a successful product.