Tag: Community wellness

“People know everything about the environment that they’re in, but nothing about the environment within.” Q&A with Martin Ashby.

Martin Ashby is Operations Director at Prevayl®.Having worked within wearable tech for over seven years, as well as a decade in leadership roles at Sports Direct and five years as General Manager, Sourcing Operations for Umbro, he joined Prevayl in September 2019.

We caught up with Martin to understand what first inspired him about the company and the impact he believes Prevayl can have for personal health, sporting performance and community wellness.

What first inspired you about Prevayl?

Before I joined the business I saw Adam present the concept. You just had to look in the eyes of the people in the room. The absolute belief in the possibilities of Prevayl. They were immediately sold on what Prevayl means for personal health and wellbeing as well as the wider industry benefits.

Adam had that vision from the outset. Let’s be clear, it was a vision to do something that had never been done before, which some people might question if it could be done at all. For me it always had to be worth a shot, as it takes guts to go for that vision, so I knew I had to be involved.

This is an industry I know and love. I’m extremely passionate about health and wellbeing and I’m convinced that technology can deliver huge steps forward in this area. Prevayl is the right place to be to do that.

Your previous employment has given you detailed experience of the wearable tech industry. How is Prevayl approaching things differently?

One of the biggest issues elsewhere has been a lack of flexibility and agility. While the Prevayl mission always remains the same, the scale of the team and the talent within means we can always respond to new ideas and thinking.

Previously there would be four tech heads and two commercial guys trying to get something off the ground. Adam’s approach to building something worthwhile and purpose-driven is therefore extremely refreshing.

His desire to have the best people and industry-leading minds in all areas of the business is fantastic. It’s a very different approach to many start-ups, but it enables us to move quickly in the right direction as a business.

Often new talent only drops in when a business is about to explode from lack of resource. The approach that Adam and the senior leadership team have taken is very much more a long-term strategic outlook.

By bringing some of the best talent in the industry in from the outset, there is a high degree of trust for the individual teams to deliver.

With so much going on, so quickly, it’s an exciting place to be.

You mention your passion for health and wellbeing. How important is it to change the way people view this and enable them to take control of their own health? What role do health and cognitive insights play in this?

Around 60% of the UK population is now overweight. We tend to use other people as a benchmark but taking control of your own wellbeing is all about understanding your own body and applying this to your individual situation.

I believe that if people actually see clearly in irrefutable data what they are doing to their bodies, they will do something about it. Personal health insights can completely change how people approach their health and wellbeing.

Our technology can spot changes in health, even micro changes very quickly such as an increase in heart rate or a decrease in heart rate recovery. We can tell very quickly when someone is dropping into a state that illustrates a lack of fitness, both mental and physical. That means that people don’t have to get 12 months into doing the wrong thing to realise they need to change their habits.

Ownership of health is all about taking these personal insights and making the right changes to your behaviour every day.

You’ve mentioned previously that you see a big shift in the medical world from treatment to prevention. How do you see this playing out in the next few years? What role does wearable tech have in this?

I think it’s already starting to play out. There have been reports already this year that GPs have begun to prescribe health club memberships as a preventative measure for things such as depression, obesity and heart problems.

While that is a start, it still relies on a personal perception of health rather than irrefutable data.

Currently we know everything about the environment that we’re in, but we know nothing about the environment within. The right use of wearable tech and associated health insights will help keep people fit physically and mentally as well as ensuring they stay in touch with exactly what’s going on with their own body.

The possibilities of Prevayl isn’t just about individual health and fitness. Performance, and specifically team performance can be enhanced. So, how can health and cognitive insights improve the collective team performance?

It has a ripple effect. Understanding where all the key players in those teams are and how they’re performing is crucial because any break in the linkage is going to create more issues.

Take Formula 1. The tyres need to be changed in under 2.5 seconds for example. By being on point with all their tasks, the team around the driver can keep them going throughout the race, but if they’re struggling and underperforming themselves it has a wider effect.

The guys in the pit all work in harmony together and if one of them is slightly off, it has a big impact. If one can’t twist his back the right way for example the whole team is let down by that millisecond of difference. These fine margins are crucial.

Now if this is a problem with his back, an old underlying injury, or an obvious illness it can be easily monitored and managed. Other external factors can also be spotted and managed simply.

Maybe certain team members need a rest, potentially a good massage will sort out a lack of flexibility, or perhaps a bit more practice will iron out any inconsistencies.

The internal side is much more complicated though. What about stress, problems at home, an illness that’s building but that person doesn’t yet have any symptoms?  

We’re giving teams the opportunity to monitor this.

Coaches can see when a heart rate is raised, and someone is breathing more heavily. If they are stressed it can be illustrated through the data. The individual might not have spotted it yet, but the coach can see it and do something about it.

They can make the people within the team better by changing things they haven’t even noticed yet. These marginal gains feed into the ripple effect of performance to help the team work as one.

Health and fitness is obviously hugely important for you. How do you keep on top of it during start-up life? How will Prevayl’s solutions be used to enhance community wellness?

My commute for me is thinking time. I think when I run, I can think when I can cycle, and I can probably think more clearly because it takes you to a type of meditative state.

I also make sure I’m disciplined. On a typical day I’ll get up early and do 40 minutes to an hour of yoga or gym. Then I cycle in – it’s around 13 miles.

That’s my personal approach. When it comes to community wellness, it’s focused on the wider approach. Real-time information across the workforce on individual wellbeing and personal performance enables a continued monitoring of community wellness. Employers can then make strategic decisions on how to improve things for their employees, with an ability to measure the impact too with actionable, validated and quantifiable insights.

It will be revolutionary.

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Start-up Culture: Our Approach to Community Wellness

Remote working, flexibility, a vibrant office environment. This is the minimum employees expect when it comes to start-up culture.

Those businesses that are going above and beyond and focusing on community wellness, employee healthcare, and staff happiness are those that are breaking the mould and offering employees a true advanced environment in which to spend their daily working lives.

This is our approach at Prevayl®. Our technology has the capability to revolutionise individual health and performance across multiple industries. This has to begin with our own staff.

The desire for employee benefits  

According to a recent study, the quality and flexibility of health benefits was the most important factor for employees, with close to 90% citing this as their number one consideration when looking for new opportunities.

Other key benefits included perks that help to improve mental well-being, such as flexible working and gym memberships. Paid time off and annual leave is of course the minimum requirement, but for a high volume of employees, of all genders, an employers’ parental leave policy is of crucial importance.

So, how are leading businesses catering to this employee desire?

Burberry Parental Leave

At the end of November, Burberry announced the introduction of a new global parental leave policy.

Under the new policy all employees are offered 18 weeks of parental leave at full pay, with the opportunity to work a 30-hour week at full pay for an additional four weeks once they return to work.

Coming into effect in April, the policy will apply across the business worldwide, having a huge impact in those countries with much lower periods of statutory maternity and paternity leave.

Burberry’s aim is to create an open and inclusive environment, to give their staff the best possible experience, and the opportunities to continue to succeed in their roles during times of change in their personal lives.

Statutory parental leave may no longer cater to modern needs, Burberry is recognising the opportunity to do something different.

Amazon Care

October saw the pilot healthcare service go live for Amazon employees in and around the Seattle area.

The scheme, which is soon expected to be rolled out to Amazon staff across the board, offers virtual and in-person care, with telemedicine via app, chat and remote video. Follow up visits can be arranged, and medicine delivery is even included; unsurprisingly this applies to delivery to Amazon offices but also an employee’s home.

Amazon is just the latest of the Silicon Valley tech giants to offer this kind of staff healthcare scheme as a compulsory part of the employee benefits package. This is an innovative step right now, but you can expect it to become the norm in a just a few years’ time for tech companies of this scale.

Prevayl’s approach to community wellness

Our approach is to enhance the wellness of everyone within our Prevayl community.

The Prevayl team is packed with talent and creative minds from the worlds of technology, fashion design, data science, electronics, finance, marketing and Biosignal processing.

They each face daily challenges from solving complex problems, building innovative tech solutions and travelling the world. Keeping them physically and mentally healthy, well and fresh is of crucial importance.

Whilst our technology is set to provide the platform for individuals across the world to take ownership of their own healthcare data, for us innovation starts at home.

Individual health eco-system

Through the combination of our full coverage wearable and health-management platform, our employees have access to their own individual health eco-system. This provides access to their personal health data and offers the opportunity to take ownership of their individual health and well-being.

Whilst employees want benefits that cater to positive mental health, often individuals lack the self-awareness to know when work is beginning to impact this.

Each of our Prevayl employees’ individual dashboards ensure that the signs that are sometimes difficult to recognise, like stress indicators, will be clear to see.

The constant monitoring of their body’s signals provides a continuous stream of data and insight into how they react during moments of stress, illustrating when to slow down and when they can healthily push themselves. These daily reminders enable each individual to be guided on a gradual incline of improvement and self-awareness, with the foundation to make the right decisions for their personal working lives, every day.

Importantly it enables them to be healthy and happy at work.

The future

This is just the start for our staff. This technology and the insight into performance and health at work will begin to become the expectation amongst employees.

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