Special Report: Proclaimed as the elixir for remote work woes, the Great Return to the Office has instead morphed into mental health misery for workers and huge costs for employers. Rather than sparking abundant team-built creativity and bonding, working from work – with all its annoying noise and harder to avoid toxic colleagues – has contributed to a 46 per cent spike in compensation claims for psychological issues over the past five years. Beyond the jokes about having to wear pants to work is a serious loss in productivity due to inadequate mental health support which now costs the Australian economy $12.2b - $22.2b annually. Meanwhile Safe Work Australia estimates $543 million is paid in compensation claims for work-related mental health conditions each year. Adding to the pressure for many workers is the ongoing cost of living crisis and last year’s halving of subsidised psychology sessions. SafeWatch steps in Built to offer expert guidance while staying easily accessible, the newly launched SafeWatch Companion App offers daily mental health self-care and genuine connection tools. With continuous input from an advisory council of experienced mental health professionals, SafeWatch takes a “Village Approach to Wellbeing” that’s lacking in other mental health apps, emphasising three key elements: Support Network: The app facilitates the creation of a support network of trusted family and friends to combat feelings of isolation and sharing of awareness. Informing Healthcare Professionals: SafeWatch provides valuable insights to healthcare practitioners through indicators embedded within the app, which helps with personalized care. Empowering Self-Care: Users are encouraged to take charge of their own mental health by tracking their feelings and progress daily, fostering personal growth. SafeWatch is available for individuals and soon to be released through tailored corporate memberships. Founder and CEO of SafeWatch Shane Muller says: “Implementing something to help employees check in with their mental wellness on a daily basis is very powerful and SafeWatch will help do this. “Importantly for employers, if you’re looking after your staff and giving them the tools to feel safe they’re going to be more productive, they’re going to want to come to work and not have ‘mental health days’. They’ll feel they’re getting the support they need on a day to day basis. “SafeWatch encourages open dialogues in safe and supportive spaces to prevent the tragic outcomes often associated with declining mental health.” For individuals the app is free to download but the full range of features can be unlocked through affordable in-app purchases, priced less than what people spend on entertainment per month. Similarly, SafeWatch’s corporate memberships offer a meaningful and personalised experience for employees at a fraction of the cost of other “corporate wellness’’ offerings. Privacy and confidentiality are paramount, with state-of-the-art key technology that's then encrypted to an IPFS network, and pegged to a blockchain network, ensuring data security. This article was developed in collaboration with SafeWatch, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing. This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.