It’s 2022, there’s no shying away from the importance of mental health anymore, and the technology sector needs to get up to speed.
A study by Lyra Health has concluded that 51% of tech professionals have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, and 71% said their productivity is affected by a mental health issue. These figures highlight how crucial it is for tech companies to create an open dialogue surrounding mental health and to educate themselves on how good morale boosts productivity, benefiting both the employee and the business.
So, what can tech companies in the UK do more to help?
Talk about it
Encouraging conversation breaks down barriers. Company leaders should set the example by demonstrating openness, being approachable and taking the topic seriously. Raising awareness internally for these issues could mean anything from higher-ups talking about their own challenges with mental health, to companywide fundraising, to partnering with a mental health charity or Employee Satisfaction Surveys.
Introduce education and training
The Mental Health Foundation found in a study that almost a quarter of managers have no official protocols or processes to follow if a team member is suffering with their mental health. A further 65% also felt mental health issues face more prejudice than physical injuries.
- Education and training should involve mental health awareness training, workshops, and managers instructed on how to deal with employees and promote healthy habits properly. Healthy habits include healthy eating, exercise and nurturing a good work-life balance, which has become increasingly pivotal with the rise of working-from-home blurring the lines between work and home life.
Provide policy and support
This could look like:
- Employees having regular one-to-ones with their managers to discuss any problems; this could also involve reframing performance reviews as opportunities for compassionate feedback and learning. Managers should also recommend staff identify both professional and personal goals and aid in the formulation of steps needed to reach these.
- Building a culture of connection through staff collaboration, or lunches together in a shared space, company parties and events, days out for team bonding and letting off steam and open plan offices. There are many ways to do this, so determine what works best for your business.
- Helping to prevent burnout by advocating staff take time off, support families with flexible working and maternity and paternity incentives and look at what you have in place for compassionate leave.
An excellent example of a company reducing burnout is Volkswagen making it impossible for employees to send emails after hours. Between 6:15 pm and 7 am, the company’s internal servers won't route emails to individual accounts, so no one feels tempted to continue working late from home.
- Appointing a mental health team who act as a listening ear and can pinpoint and identify those struggling. These selected ‘champions’ should know the correct channels to direct people, such as mental health charities and resources. Larger companies could even provide access to counselling sessions and coaching and smaller companies could arrange subscriptions to Wellbeing apps.
Companies must be open to improving the way they tackle mental health and establish techniques, such as those suggested here, for the technology sector to become a safer, more diverse space with even greater potential than it currently has.
Everything we have advised in this article we are implementing at Client Server, and we are always searching for new ideas; if you have any, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear them.
Client Server is a leading technology recruitment consultancy. We find exceptional people exceptional jobs in tech. Find out more about us here www.client-server.com.