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Mental health in SMEs – how can you make wellbeing a priority in small businesses?

Today kicks off the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and this week you are encouraged to explore the experience of loneliness, its effect on our mental health and how we can all play a part in reducing loneliness in our communities. One way to tackle loneliness is through community – and the workplace is the perfect place to start.

Member of our Disruptive Minds taskforce, and founder of WOAW, Joe Binder, discusses how you can make wellbeing a priority in your small business: 

With the Great Resignation in full force, employee wellness is on many founders’ minds right now. 

With that in mind, I think there’s a lot to be learned from this quote by Leigha Mitchell:

“I don’t care that you have a ping-pong table, or a keg, or free snacks. I care that the CEO leaves on time to pick up her kids during the week, that the holidays are for spending time with your family, and that when the guy in marketing got engaged to his boyfriend everyone went out for lunch to celebrate.”

Here’s why:

Over the past four years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have grown my agency to a team of 17 people. If I’ve learned anything in that time, it’s that every one of those people is different and everyone has different needs. 

There’s no rulebook for employee wellness and every business needs different policies, to best support the mental health and wellbeing of their team. 

Identifying the policies that work best for you means continuously speaking to your team members, to understand their current pains and stresses, and what would help them.

At WOAW, these conversations have led to the introduction of:

  • Mental health days – every team member has an annual allowance of ‘sick days for mental health’, which are automatically approved, no questions asked.
  • Mental health budgets – every team member has an annual budget that can be spent on anything that might help with their mental health. Think: Headspace subscriptions, gym memberships and National Trust memberships.
  • Therapy budgets – every new starter has a budget specifically for the cost of therapy. Again, no questions asked. 

At other companies, wellness looks slightly different:

  • Stakester – offers their employees an hour of gaming time each day, whenever they want to take it.
  • Landscape VCfound that offering their team Unplugged digital detox getaways was “a game changer”.
  • MindLabs – offers monthly, in-office massages (among many other things)

Though all are startups, there’s a world of difference between the wellness offerings of all three startups.

I’m not surprised. After all, the right way to ‘do’ employee wellness is the way that’s right for your employees. 

This week the Disruptive Minds taskforce will be bringing together SME founders for a conversation that matters. Discussing mental health, and how SMEs can make this a priority in their workforce. Participants will be given the opportunity to hear from the experts, and ask any burning questions they might have. 

Register to watch the webinar here: Mental health in SMEs – how can you make wellbeing a priority in small businesses?May 12 2022, 11:00 AM