Signals #5 – Mental Wellness

Challenge

Opportunity

  • Prioritizing mental wellness at workplaces makes both people and the company better off. Mental health support is valued higher than gym memberships and free meals.

Get Started

  • Take care of yourself first. Reducing doomscrolling and phone usage are good first targets. Keep working hours at a sane level. Exercise every now and then. Try to maintain a somewhat balanced diet.
  • Build culture of connection within your team and companyCheck-in regularly with colleagues and employees. Listen thoroughly and carefully, but don’t intrude. Understand the real worries beneath the surface.
  • Offer flexibilityto easen up the burden.New parents need daycare. Caretakers need fewer hours. Some want to work from different places. Everyone’s different, make it inclusive.
  • Provide access to new toolsGinger offers on-demand mental care remotely. Headspace builds meditation habits. SleepScore tracks recharging at nights. Leverage the wellness app ecosystem.
  • Set an example. The change starts from the top. Share your own experiences, if you have them. As Paul Greenberg puts it: “As soon as you normalize it, other people do too.”

Tools

Pros

  • Mental health investments on average have 5:1 returns.
    • Proactive cultural change, training and raising awareness yield the best results (6:1 ROI).
    • Reactive therapy is less effective, but still very positive (3:1 ROI).
  • Additional benefits: increased productivity, commitment, engagement, talent acquisition and quality of work.
  • There’s a link between the mind and the body. People who feel well tend to look after their physical fitness too. On the other hand, movement can arm you against stress.

Cons

  • Don’t go for reactive or bolt-on programs. Solve problems before they arise. Make wellbeing a core value.
  • The total effect of COVID-19 on mental health is unclear. A long tail of mental health problems could form.

Cases

  • Starbucks offers 20 therapist sessions per year for employees and family members.
  • Zappos‘ benefits include paid paternity leave, pet adoption and wellness challenges.
  • KKR extended mental health resources to employee families, reimburses 250$ for virtual classes and $300 for improving your home office setup.
  • SAP launched daycare, flextime for parents and a mental health program. Operating profit increased $900M in 5 years.
  • Propellernet invests 5% of monthly profits to a wellbeing fund. They also fulfill one dream each quarter.

Forecast

  • Stigmas continue to decrease. What was once taboo is now mainstream. Big Tech is trying to help by integrating mental wellness to their apps and services.
  • Depression and anxiety will become more socially acceptable, and it starts with the C-level example. “Hiding breeds shame. Shame is destructive.”
  • New services are virtualThis is a double-edged sword. Remote services solve distance and time issues but can lack human connection and body language.

Resources

Takeaways

  • Investing in mental wellness has a real, proven return on investment. And often it’s big.
  • Top management has to set the example. Stigma is decreasing, but it’s still there. Lead by example, be vulnerable.
  • It’s all about the people. Check how they are, listen to their worries, support and provide help when they need it.