The SWELL story

Managing both work and family life is often difficult and impacts health and well-being of employees, their families, and workplace performance. A healthy workforce is a happier and more productive workforce. SWELL aims at establishing and maintaining this.

Keeping people healthy in both their home and work settings has obvious benefits; promoting a better quality of life and allowing people to make the most of their potential. Conversely, being out of work can cause various physical and mental health problems and increases the chance of social exclusion. The objective of this project is to develop sensing and reasoning techniques that help to improve physical well-being (mostly in a home context) and mental well-being in a work context; well-working. Well-working is defined as: being and feeling in control, with a positive impact on work efficiency and effectiveness, work pleasure, and mental health status. Physical well-being relates to level of physical activity, cardiovascular fitness and physical health.


The target group of SWELL consists of knowledge workers, whose health status can be anything from fine, through at risk, to sick (see below). 

Knowledge workers are relatively flexible in their work; they have some freedom in how they organize their activities when to do what and how to work. They have specific personal needs; they want to make optimal use of their time and keep productivity high, while keeping well-being optimal. Furthermore, knowledge workers prefer working at their own pace, being in control. However, stress is a common experience. Stress is easily caused by the typical working conditions of knowledge workers, who are predominantly concerned with interpreting and generating information (Michie, 2002). They get overwhelmed by information, work under high demands and often have a fragmented way of working due to interruptions. As a consequence, well-being can decline fast.

SWELL tries to prevent this undesirable effect by investigating the following functionalities and implementing them into a service that can be used by knowledge workers when at home, at work and/or in between:

  • The ability to detect task switches, and to recognize a good work flow, to identify when to send well-timed notifications (e.g. e-mail, physical activity prompts)
  • The ability to recommend relevant documents and e-mails based on the current topic of work.
  • Insight in productivity / an option to participate in a social game that shows the individual's level of productivity, compared to their colleagues'.
  • A component that aims to improve physical well-being through
    • classifying activities,
    • reducing sedentary behavior,
    • increasing physical activity over the day, and
    • improving cardiovascular fitness.
  • The system helps the user set personalized goals and users receive tailored feedback. This means that, based on theories about behavioral change, different users receive different feedback.
  • All the while, the software guarantees security and privacy of user-data. 
Using the service we are developing within SWELL, knowledge workers will be supported in various ways, leading to a higher level of well-being and a more happy and productive work force.


Anna van Buerenplein 1

2595 DA Den Haag

T 088 866 70 00

F 088 866 70 57

Prof. Dr. ir. Wessel Kraaij

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