This week in the UK we recognized Mental Health Awareness Week, while our friends and teammates in the US marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Month. This is an important global event that aims to raise awareness and ensure everyone recognizes the importance of working on our mental health.
The world has faced an unprecedented 18 months, with many of us living in varying degrees of separation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From a working point of view, that means we’ve traded offices for homes, and in-person meetings for endless Zoom calls.
There have been various articles published recently on the impact this pandemic has had on our mental health, including Harvard Magazine examining the loneliness pandemic, Verywell Health who looked into the very real Zoom fatigue, and the New York Times who provided seven simple steps to get you thriving again.
As an early-stage, high-growth company, there are a number of pressures that can arise and impact our mental health. Add to that the influence that the above is having on us all, it is more important than ever that we support each other’s mental well-being.
Lauren Wetzel, InfoSum’s President North America, Global Strategy and Operations provided these thoughts:
“I've found the best way to prioritize your mental health and also adapt to this 'new normal' of remote working and endless zoom calls is to create routines and rules for yourself - and stick to them. Determine what helps you to address these challenges, and what habits should be embraced to prioritize your mental health. Remind yourself that what works for some - meditating, yoga, etc. - may not work for you so invest the time in determining what helps YOU to find calm during this chaotic time, and what helps YOU to strengthen your mental health.”
There is always room for a company to grow and improve, so we wanted to share some of the events we held this week, and some of the ongoing initiatives we’ve introduced at InfoSum.
Mental Health Awareness Week at InfoSum
Our Director, Global Talent, Melissa Gentile shared her thoughts:
“We are in unprecedented, and extraordinary times. Now more than ever we need to be focused on our mental health and wellness. We want our employees to know we’re here for them, and we support them. Increasing awareness and how to deal with your mental health has been my passion and it is my mission to increase awareness at InfoSum and beyond.”
This week our team put together different events and resources for each day to promote greater awareness of our mental health. These included:
- Monday: A 10-minute group mindfulness meditation session.
- Tuesday: Virtual yoga to get us all moving.
- Wednesday: We shared a guide to foods that can boost mood, essential oils to help with stress/anxiety, and relaxation techniques to help with sleep.
- Thursday: We circulated a guide to meeting best practices to help people avoid Zoom fatigue.
- Friday: Our #random Slack channel became a #gratitude channel for the day, with team members sharing shoutouts to teammates.
Ongoing mental health resources at InfoSum
Supporting employee mental wellbeing must continue outside of Mental Health Awareness Week and Month. Over the last 18-months we have introduced a number of support resources at InfoSum, but below are my top four.
Sanctus: I love the Sanctus mission - to put a mental health gym on the high street. Through Sanctus, we are able to offer our team members access to a Santus coach. Employees can meet with a coach to talk in a safe and confidential environment. In addition to this, Sanctus also runs a number of free services that you can find on their Community page.
Headspace: The rise in popularity of mindfulness is directly correlated to the increasing evidence of the impact it has on mental wellbeing. This is why every member of the InfoSum team has access to Headspace, an app that offers guided meditations and mindfulness courses as well as workout sessions covering everything from stress to anxiety management to sleep.
Coffee Club: Remember the random conversations you would have in the office with various people around the coffee machine? Those days are almost forgotten for many of us, and it can be easy to build silos where people are only interacting with teammates on work-related Zoom calls and only those within your team. That is why we introduced Coffee Club. Held on twice a week, these open Zoom calls are open to everyone in the company to join with a coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, or juice and have non-work-related chats.
Snack: Just like our Coffee Club, we have also introduced Snack. A Slack feature that allows random team members to meet for a snack and a chat.
I’ll close this with these words from our Chairman and CEO, Brian Lesser:
“It's okay to not be okay. There is not a person amongst us who has not had feelings of lethargy, exhaustion, depression or anxiety...due to the pace of life and business, but certainly also due to the pandemic. Seek help - whether that is a therapist, an app, or a friend - and take care of yourself. Also, be a life raft to someone who may need a kind and friendly ear."