The start of the new year offers a natural point at which to assess progress and set goals for the months that lay ahead. And for us at GANDT — mental health at work is going to be front and center in 2022. As a global society, we have recently come a long way in bettering the conversation around mental health. From prominent figures opening up publicly about their struggles with mental illness to the rise of communities on social media focused on self-care and mutual support, mental health has been one of the loudest discussions throughout the pandemic.
Of course, this increased awareness has also coincided with increased mental distress, and there is still a lot of work to be done. At GANDT, we have been especially aware of the many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to our employees, on top of the existing pressure to excel in a high-performance environment. Our team consists of very motivated professionals who want to be at the top of their field—it is rewarding to be part of such an organization. Still, the inclination to spend long hours perfecting a project can, at times, lead to burnout.
A proactive approach to mental health at work
To ensure that everyone feels safe coming forward with anything they are struggling with and being honest when they need a break—we are making a concerted effort to position mental health as a primary focus of our company culture. In addition to offering support for work-related stress, we also want our employees to feel assisted in their personal lives and to know that we are there for them as we navigate these uncertain times.
We also strive to provide preventative resources that can stop serious issues from arising in the first place. As an organization, we always look towards education for solutions. We believe that a big part of our responsibility is to give our employees the tools and support they need to recognize the signs of mental health issues, the space to discuss and ask questions, and, if necessary, direct access to the resources required to seek help.
Offering tangible support
Sharon Livain, our social media manager who helped put together the employee handbook for mental health, explains,
I think nowadays companies see the importance of mental health more and more. We know that it affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also plays a role in determining how we handle stress and make choices. I really appreciate that GANDT offers help, and every employee can book a session with our psychologist anytime.
The way it currently works at GANDT, you can go to our company psychologist for up to five sessions per year. No information will be shared with the company, and the only feedback our management team receives is whether or not the problems are work-related. If that is the case, we will pay for an additional five sessions. Our employees have been taking advantage and feel it helps them cope, regardless of whether or not the problems are work-related.
Other aspects of this service include:
- Job-friendly appointment scheduling by phone or email, primarily in the evenings and on weekends.
- Absolute confidentiality as well as anonymous billing with the employer guaranteed
Possible assistance with identifying personal and professional stressors and realistic stress reduction strategies in your everyday life.
- Recognition of your own needs as well as improved implementation and communication in this regard
- Strategies for relieving tinnitus, migraine, stress-related digestive problems as well as back pain and sleep problems
- Improved handling of social conflicts in the professional or private environment
If you need further counseling after the five sessions, Gandt Ventures offers to cover 50% of the costs for a maximum of 20 additional sessions (of course, with anonymous billing).
Our mental health plan in action
Jesus Blazquez, one of our senior digital marketing experts, appreciates having the services so readily available. As he explains,
I am proud to work for a company that sees mental health as a reality and gives it visibility, not just by talking about it from time to time (every company does that), but by taking action.
For Jesus, the one-on-one sessions have been really helpful, as they offers the space to discuss any negative feelings or stressors and seek advice. “I also think it helps create a certain atmosphere in the workplace,” he says, “beyond the actual benefit from these chats, the fact that they exist sends a message to everybody that ‘It is OK not to be OK’ in this company. They’re actually spending money on it—what better proof! As such, I often mention mental health awareness and resources as a plus when describing GANDT to people who are interested in applying.”
Always striving to improve
However, the reality is that, even with the best intentions and all efforts to prevent it, stress happens. Working in a high-performance environment can take its toll, and it isn’t always easy to ask for help.
At GANDT, we acknowledge the reality of this situation, and we see that our industry, in general, has spent too many years waiting till crises have occurred to say, ‘OK, now we need to address mental health challenges.’
We see that now is the time to act—when there is so much focus and an increasing understanding of the centrality of mental health to personal and professional success and contentment. We believe that leaders must treat mental health as an organizational priority with accountability mechanisms such as regular pulse surveys and clear ownership. This is an opportunity to do better as an organization. Throughout 2022, we will be making it a priority to have more in-depth discussions within our team to help everyone feel supported in striking a healthy work-life balance and feeling empowered by their presence on our team.