The pandemic changed work and challenged team members’ mental wellness in a myriad of ways. To answer the changes, companies are embracing progressive new benefits supporting employee mental wellness.
These wellness practices change the game on when, where, and how team members work. Companies are using what they learned this past year, when those perimeters were dictated by the pandemic. While some companies have implemented firm post-COVID return to work plans, others are slowing the transition back to physical offices or experimenting with how to define a work week. They’re trying new programs for the well-being of their people.
Employees who feel supported by their companies are expressing their thanks publicly and amplifying company values. Ultimately, the companies that best support their employees and guard against burnout are best positioned to keep those people in a global climate of turnover.
Here are some of the innovative ways companies are supporting employee mental wellness, with examples of employees sharing stories that show their appreciation, as well as the policy’s impact on them personally.
Swiggy, the leader in on-demand delivery of food, groceries, and more in India, is also becoming a leader in prioritizing employee mental health. They’ve rolled out a whole suite of services and initiatives in for team member wellness. Like many companies, they are experimenting with a four day work week, but what’s unusual is they are giving employees the option to pick which four days of the week they work.
As a result, lots of Swiggsters have shared their gratitude on social.
The best way to know what programs and policies work best for your workforce is to ask them.
When IT marketplace platform Thumbtack surveyed its employees during the pandemic for mental wellness feedback, they expressed that it’s hard to truly unplug when everyone else is still working and that office closures work more effectively than floating days off.
To prevent employee burnout, Thumbtack closed the office for several days last summer. And this summer, they’re closing their offices for one week over the summer. Other companies like Bluecore and PerfectServ are doing the same.
The best way for team members to recharge is to know all their colleagues are off, too. If you think you’re missing something, or someone is waiting on you for something, you can’t totally disconnect.
Airbnb has made it easy for people to work from anywhere, and they’re experiencing a boom in remotely-working consumers using their platform. Once the pandemic took hold, Airbnb closed its offices to protect employees’ physical health. Now, offices have reopened, but employees can choose to work remotely through the end of August 2021. When Airbnb made that call in August 2020 they set a cultural precedent — they were the largest tech company to extend the remote work option for the longest period.
Airbnb hasn’t officially released a formal remote or hybrid work policy for employees beyond August, but company leadership has expressed that their business and culture models are changing to support
Airbnb is far from alone in this thinking. PriceWaterhouseCooper chairman Kevin Ellis says he wants employees to have control of their schedules through flexible working “the norm rather than the exception…we want our people to feel trusted and empowered.” To that end, the global accountancy firm is allowing employees to work from home a few days a week… and start as early or as late as they like!
And, they’re closing offices early on summer Fridays.
Hubspot, famous for its progressive culture practices and policies, got creative for Mental Health Awareness Month 2021. They provided employees with a variety of mental wellness options with the expectation they would implement their favorite for the month. All involve taking time away from work to recharge and strengthen personal well-being.
There’s definite mental health value in creating these initiatives supporting employee mental wellness. There’s employer branding and recruitment marketing power in the announcement. But don’t stop there. When you offer team members tangible, innovative and real mental health support, you’ll also have team members who want to share their stories. This not only further promotes your innovative policy over time, beyond the big splash, but candidates can see exactly how the program is improving the lives of its people.
Those are the stories that their colleagues want to hear as they recommit to your company post-pandemic, and they’re the stories candidates are looking for as they look for cultures that will support them.
Sign up to get our monthly newsletter and updates about RNN.