In honor of World Mental Health Day we want to take some time to focus on the importance of mental and emotional well-being, which is something we value every day of the year. Our investment in mental and emotional well-being supports the health of our employees and sets the business on a course for sustainable success. I encourage employees to seek the support they need when they're experiencing mental health struggles, because mental health is truly as important to protect as physical health.
I’m proud of the efforts we’ve made to promote employee well-being. Every month, we ask our employees about how sustainable their workload feels. While we may run the risk of over-surveying, the results from our monthly culture survey equip managers to have meaningful conversations with team members on a personal level.
Working remotely has helped alleviate some workplace stresses, but it has the potential to contribute to feelings of isolation as we can’t gather around the proverbial water cooler to connect and share. Fostering proactive, responsive dialogue around the challenges employees are experiencing has been an important antidote to the disconnectedness of remote work.
If you or someone in your family needs help, our Employee Assistance Program through Anthem can provide you with counseling, financial and legal consultations, crisis intervention, and work-life assistance for things like childcare, petcare, moving, vacation planning and more. You can find more information at AnthemEAP.com (company code: BrightInsight), or call 800 999-7222.
We’re also excited about our partnership with Kaya for our US-based employees. Kaya is a virtual mental health platform offering clinically led groups connecting coworkers who share similar experiences. Their behavioral therapists provide people at BrightInsight with accessible group therapy to help navigate shared challenges. Our goal is to help our employees have easy access to needed support, leading to improved overall well-being that will hopefully follow from work to home.
We also know it’s critical for our employees to take time away to offset how hard we’re all working. It’s been rewarding to see how successful our mental health day initiative has been at BrightInsight. With roughly one mental health day per month, it equates to about twelve holidays a year where largely no one is expected to work. While PTO is also available throughout the year, during mental health days the majority of the company is also offline, so team members won’t feel behind as soon as they open up their laptops on Monday—allowing for a true break.
However, it’s important to note that not all of our employees can take advantage of these mental health days. Our professional services team, for example, is an essential part of our success as a start-up, and they work closely with customers—who aren’t taking our mental health days. We want to support and encourage everyone who can’t utilize the set mental health days to still take advantage of time away to focus on their emotional and mental health by blocking their calendars for time away as needed.
Over the last year, we’ve also been fortunate to host guest speakers on mental health for our fireside chats. They’ve brought wonderful insight and tips on how to be more mindful in tending to our mental well-being. One highly regarded speaker, Samantha Bennett, shared her daily morning mantra upon waking: "don’t open your email."
Another inspiring speaker, Stacey Gordon, talked about diversity, equity and inclusion and really emphasized that to create an inclusive work environment, you must embrace the full lives of the people you’re working with. From caregivers of the young and elderly, to people and families with personal health issues, we have to ask ourselves: are we creating an environment where everyone can do their best work?
Overseeing our fitness challenges has been a highlight for me. Ten teams participated in a challenge to spend time every day doing “anything that makes you feel good about yourself.” We wanted to be supportive of mental and emotional well-being, not just focusing on steps taken or miles logged, so we opted to let anything count—as long as it made you feel good.
Our next mental health day is just around the corner, on October 28th. In the past, we’ve enjoyed seeing all the posts on Slack of your mini-vacations, bike rides, hikes and selfies with your family or dog—let’s see some more of those mental health posts and let’s normalize emotional and mental self-care, together.