Agency execs launch app to tackle the industry's 'wellbeing crisis'

A former DeVries UK art director has launched an employee support platform called Juno, aimed specifically at the marcomms industry, in an attempt to tackle the sector's 'wellbeing crisis' head-on.

(L-R) Roach, Fekaiki, and COO Gwen Gilet
(L-R) Roach, Fekaiki, and COO Gwen Gilet

Ally Fekaiki, who left DeVries three years ago, founded the business with former Essence director Verity Roach as CMO.

Launched this week, the app offers a range of lifestyle services for employees to choose from – and they can mix and match every month. Options include therapy, fitness, home-cleaning and nanny services. During the pilot phase the brand worked with agencies such as Koto Studio and Buttermilk.

PRWeek's own research found the proportion of comms professionals experiencing mental-health problems has changed little in the past year, and PR employers appear to be dragging their feet on the issue.

Caroline Matthews, co-founder and managing director of Koto Studios, said she believes that on-demand employee platforms will grow in popularity because of the choice they offer users and the flexibility they provide to employers.

"The whole issue of mental health is becoming critical within agencyland," added Buttermilk Agency co-founder Jamie Ray. "We know the conversation has been increasingly touched-upon but, as an agency owner, it's one thing to talk about it and another to have something that genuinely moves the needle."

The platform has already raised £650,000 in a funding round led by venture capital firm Fuel Ventures.

Fekaiki said it was obvious from his time working in the industry that there is a "wellbeing crisis".

"It was clear that the fast-paced nature of the industry means employee wellbeing often drops way down the priority list. I was fed up of hearing from friends that their stress levels were out of control and their employers were struggling to deal with it.

"Over the past couple of years, the dial is starting to turn as agencies in the sector wake up to the fact that a happy, healthy employee is also a productive one," he added.

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