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Standing up for Mental Health

Posted 4 years ago in Xero news by Nicole Reid
Posted by Nicole Reid

Caring for each other and all of our people at Xero is important. We strive to create a positive working environment where everyone feels they belong and can do their best work. Supporting the mental wellbeing of our people is an essential component to running a compassionate, successful business.

Every year, one in five people are affected by a mental illness. However, many don’t speak up or share their challenges for a variety of reasons, including the fear of social stigma. World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us to reflect on ourselves, our colleagues and open up the conversation around mental health. It’s important that we all play a role in shifting the focus to wellness rather than illness.

Building a culture of wellbeing

As one of the fastest growing SaaS companies globally, connecting 1.8 million subscribers in more than 180 countries, it’s essential that our world-class team can take time to switch off, recharge and reconnect. Mental health means different things to different people so it’s important that we fully support our Xeros. To help, we’ve developed our Wellbeing Program that focuses on five pillars:

  • Physical Wellbeing – Get your body life-ready
  • Mental Wellbeing – Harness the power of the mind
  • Social Wellbeing – Take social offline
  • Financial Wellbeing – Peace of mind is priceless
  • Environmental Wellbeing – It only takes one action to start a ripple effect

Supporting mental health at Xero

Last year we announced ‘wellbeing leave’ recognising that our people’s wellbeing can be physical, mental, spiritual or emotional. We want our employees to feel comfortable to take leave to recover from a physical illness, medical procedures or to care for a partner or dependent. We would also like them to feel just as comfortable to take time to care for their own personal needs.

We’re excited to continue our support with the global launch of ‘lifestyle leave’, recognising that it can be difficult financially to take an extended holiday as unpaid leave. Lifestyle leave is a way for our employees to purchase additional leave, spreading the costs across a six or 12 month period.

We also provide a range of other resources to help support our staff balance work and life. This includes EAP, mindfulness courses, communities and educational content.

It’s good business to care

Businesses are beginning to understand the importance of mental health and are placing more emphasis on employee wellbeing. It’s not only individuals and company culture that benefits from an increased focus on wellbeing, it can also have a direct impact on the bottom line. In New Zealand, for every dollar spent on mental health services, the nation reaps more than three times that in productivity gains and other savings

It is estimated that mental illness costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion every year in lost productivity so businesses can’t afford not to have a strong focus on mental health. However, for many small businesses, time and resource constraints can make focusing on wellbeing a challenge. Many rarely have the support of a dedicated HR department. So what can you do to help support your mental health and that of your employees?

One way to foster a nurturing environment for your own employees is by getting to know the ‘whole person’. By this I mean, understanding their pressures, stresses and responsibilities both at work and outside of work. Having the full picture of a person can help recognise early signs that something might not be quite right. Once you can recognise the signs, you can provide the necessary support to help them manage their workload at work or while they take time off.

“Fifty percent of a person’s mental health recovery is connection with others. 25% is lifestyle, including the right food, drink, and exercise, and 25% is psychological,” says Arthur Papagiannis, the Founder and Managing Director of AP Psychology and Consulting Services.

Some helpful links

For more ways to create a culture of wellbeing in your business, check out the following tools and resources created by HeadsUp specifically for small businesses:

So take some time today to reflect and mark World Mental Health Day. Remember it is never a weakness to seek help and support, and that today and every day we need to look after ourselves and each other.

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