Employees want safety support after business hours, say 10,000+ cases

When leaders talk about wellbeing, their first conversation is often about stress and burnout. Whilst this is important, an equally critical conversation needs to be had around personal safety - because it's hard for people to perform when their fundamental safety needs are not met.

Each quarter, we see first-hand that people both want and need safety support. Our technology-enabled, professional care team and on-the-ground responders actively support member cases involving physical aggression, harassment, violence, assault, sexual abuse, vehicle accidents, and more.

In addition, our 24/7 support team (including our safety intelligence experts) oversee 10,000+ safety-monitoring cases - where members have opted to share their location and plans with us so we can help ensure they arrive at their destinations safely.

From the support we provided last quarter, we observed the following…

In the workplace, we saw a 54 per cent increase in the percentage of safety-related critical incidents compared to the previous quarter.

In and out of the workplace, the following case types had the greatest percentage increases in terms of personal safety support:

  1. Severe weather event;
  2. Assault;
  3. Sexual abuse;
  4. Family and domestic violence; and
  5. Vehicle incident.

After business hours
, a rise in the use of our in-app safety features showed that people are feeling cautious and wanting support not only at work but after business hours as well.

"It is hard to perform at your best if you have concerns about your safety at work or at home"

- Craig Cowdrey, CEO & co-founder, Sonder

How does Sonder provide personal safety support?

To understand the trends we observed in personal safety support last quarter, it's important to first understand how Sonder provides personal safety support across the following key pillars:

  1. Track my journey. For the times when members feel uncomfortable walking alone in the dark, driving in an unfamiliar area, or cycling along heavy traffic roads, our Track my journey feature allows them to share their location with our team, so we can keep an eye on their progress and check they make it to their destination. These journeys are monitored by real people - not machines - and if we detect that a member has stopped or gone off-route, we get in touch to ensure they're okay.
  1. Check on me. To give members peace of mind when they are meeting someone new, travelling somewhere far, or out late at night, our Check on me feature enables members to set a time they would like us to check on them. When the time is up, we'll prompt them to confirm they are safe. If we don't get a response at the agreed time, we do everything we can to get in touch to confirm they are safe. If we have reason to fear for their safety, we try to send a member of our team to their last known location.
  1. In-person response. For serious or life-threatening situations, we have a nationwide team of in-person responders - typically emergency-services-trained personnel - who are on-call to help when the situation warrants an in-person response.
  1. Welfare checks. If a manager (or teacher) has a reasonable concern about the safety of an employee (or student), we can organise a welfare check to confirm the person is okay. We conduct welfare checks through any available means (ranging from phone/in-app checks to emergency services checks to in-person checks by a Sonder responder), depending on the severity and circumstances of the concern. After a welfare check, we inform the requesting manager (or teacher) that the member is either safe or unsafe, but any further details are held in confidence unless the member gives explicit consent.
  1. Everyday safety support. We're available 24/7 for whenever members need safety and wellbeing support - no matter how big or small. Our virtual support comes from our team of highly-trained support crew, nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers, and more.
  1. Proactive safety notices. If a member consents to share their geo-location, and has their Sonder notifications turned on, we send invaluable safety notices to their mobile phone to help them avoid traffic jams, public transportation delays, police incidents, and dangerous weather situations (such as floods, fires, and cyclones).
  1. Safety library. Members can access a wide range of curated digital resources - anytime of the day or night - to increase their awareness and education on safety-related topics.

[Trends] Track my journey

Last quarter, our members used our Track my journey feature to collectively travel 81,440 km.

Most of this safety-monitoring support (55 per cent) was for travel after business hours.

The highest usage occurred when walking or driving to work between 8am and 9am and/or when walking late at night between 10pm and midnight.

The exceptions to this usage pattern were:

  • Students - whose peak usage was between 8pm and 9pm; and
  • Employees who used Sonder's safety monitoring for work-related driving - their peak usage was mostly within business hours (8am-5pm).

[Explainer video] Track my journey

[Trends] Check on me

Most of our members who activated our Check on me feature last quarter did so after business hours (88 per cent).

The highest usage occurred in the evenings from 8pm to midnight - providing members with peace of mind when travelling late at night, and family members with a stress-free night's sleep.

The exception to this usage pattern was:

  • Employees who used Sonder's safety monitoring for night shifts at work - their peak usage was during their night shift, 11pm-6am.

[Explainer video] Check on me

Did you know?

Child protection cases

Every week, we also help students, employees and/or family members who struggle to concentrate on their work or studies because they are living in a dangerous situation at home.

In more than half of the escalated cases, our professional clinicians (registered by AHPRA, NCNZ, or the Medical Board of Australia) are required by law to identify and report child protection concerns.

Sadly, last quarter, our team reported 16 child protection cases - all of which were heartbreaking examples of why people need support after business hours too.

Our team can make these reports quickly and efficiently across various jurisdictions, thanks to our ACHS-accredited governance framework and robust processes.

If your organisation is a Sonder customer, and your colleagues or managers are uncertain how to respond to information disclosed to them about sensitive cases of child abuse and neglect, please encourage them to contact us.

What do these safety trends mean for people leaders?

Last quarter's safety trends across our (active member support cases and) 10,000+ safety-monitoring cases provide a timely reminder that many people want help to feel and/or stay safe and well.

From these trends, people leaders might consider taking away these three action points:

  1. Respect individual needs. If leaders feel safe walking at night or traveling home to their residences after a long day's work, it doesn't mean their team members feel the same way. Leaders need to respect the unique safety needs of each person in their team, help them to prioritise personal safety, normalise help-seeking behaviour, respond to early warning signs, and initiate conversations about safety support available to them (and their families).
  1. Review your existing EAP offering. Ask your current provider for a full explanation of their safety support offerings - beyond only critical incident responses - so you know how and when your people's safety will be supported.
  1. Empower your employees. Simplify your safety and wellbeing offerings so that employees have a single, user-friendly access point to the support they need, when they need it - and don't feel  overwhelmed by multiple apps that make help-seeking difficult to navigate.

Download our safety trends report

Our latest Quarterly trends report details all of the safety trends we observed last quarter. It includes data about personal safety support, urgent safety notices, child protection cases, and much more. We invite you to download a full copy here.

Want to learn more?

For more information about how Sonder can help you rethink your employee and/or student support, we invite you to contact us here.

About Sonder

Sonder is an Active Care technology company that helps organisations improve the wellbeing of their people so they perform at their best. Our mobile app provides immediate, 24/7 support from a team of safety, medical, and mental health professionals - plus onsite help for time-sensitive scenarios. Accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS), our platform gives leaders the insights they need to act on tomorrow's wellbeing challenges today.

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Sonder is reimagining health, safety and wellbeing support. Sonder proves human centric care leads to earlier intervention. Sonder impacts one person at a time to drive meaningful change across an organisation. Sonder understands people and how to support them.