Tomorrow is World Mental Health Day. Last year on this day, I reflected on how Xero is supporting our staff and our communities. But it’s safe to say things feel a little different this year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only had a devastating impact on the health and lives of millions of people around the world, its economic impact has caused financial upheaval and redefined the way businesses operate. According to The United Nations Policy Brief: COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health, May 2020, while primarily a physical health crisis, this brief points to the mental health crisis emerging if it is not addressed urgently in severely impacted societies.
It’s more important than ever to take care of your mental health. And at Xero, we take our responsibility as an employer, and as a purpose-led organisation within our wider community seriously. Some of the ways we’re playing our part include:
- Looking after our employees with additional wellbeing leave;
- Evolving our ways of working to ensure our employees feel connected and supported
- Raising money for community members in need; and
- Appointing a Global Head of Wellbeing.
We’re also working hard in the regions to assist our customers and partners to access mental health tools and resources – take a look at this blog for more information.
A mental health day for all our staff
Last year we repositioned our sick leave as ‘wellbeing leave’ to encourage our staff to feel comfortable to not only take leave for physical illness, but also to take time off for their own mental and emotional wellbeing.
Building on that, and to mark World Mental Health Day this year, Xero gifted all staff one extra ‘wellbeing day’, that they could use to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing.
It’s been so heartening to hear about how our staff spent this day, from reconnecting with nature to having a ‘duvet day’. Taking care of your mental health looks different for everyone, and we were pleased to be able to offer our Xeros the flexibility to choose.
Supporting resilience and mental wellbeing in our community
Supporting the broader community is foundational at Xero and our people are passionate about doing what they can do to help. This year we proudly launched the Xero Community Appeal.
Through this appeal, we’re raising funds for charities that help the most vulnerable and marginalised people to build resilience and mental wellbeing. We’re working with charities in each region where we operate, as well as one global partner – Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders).
We kicked off the appeal by committing $50,000 NZD, and pledged to match donations made by our staff dollar-for-dollar up to another $50,000 NZD. Collectively, within Xero we’ve raised just over $153,000 NZD to date. Now, we’re opening up the appeal to our wider Xero community.
You can find out more about the Xero Community Appeal in this blog.
The next phase of our commitment to wellbeing
COVID-19 and the impact it is having on so many across the world has prompted us to take action and ensure we remain focused on wellbeing now, and in the future. The goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health, so we are thrilled to announce the appointment of Lucas Finch as our Global Head of Wellbeing at Xero.
This is an entirely new role and a natural next step in our commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of our staff. Lucas will be responsible for Xero’s wellbeing strategy and will play a key role in building awareness and promoting wellbeing across the company.
As leaders, we’re leading teams in ways we’ve never done before. Despite the challenges, there’s a unique opportunity to adapt and offer support that enhances our team dynamics, deepens relationships and promotes wellbeing. I firmly believe that if we give our people time and space to look after their wellbeing, it will have a ripple effect on the communities in which we live and work.