Burnout has become an ever greater and more pressing issue for all businesses. It’s right there every time we scroll through our LinkedIn feeds. Driven by an eroding boundary between work and home life, employees across all organizations and age groups have experienced higher levels of burnout than ever before.
In a survey by the recruitment platform Indeed, two-thirds of workers (67%) say the pandemic has worsened employee burnout, with a further 31% of remote staff saying they work “much more” than before the pandemic.
In startups, burnout is an even greater risk. All the incentives that startups use to attract talent, whether it’s impressive growth figures, remote working, or big funding rounds, can simply serve as reminders of what might be lurking around the corner: back-to-back Zoom calls, long hours, poor work-life balance, and ultimately, burnout.
This poses a real challenge when it comes to recruiting fresh talent. Experienced tech workers who want to make a difference are often wary of new opportunities with startups after being burned out in a high-growth company in the past. If you consider that many of the people attracted to startups tend to be from younger generations with higher incidences of mental health issues, the challenge is even greater.
For this reason, we believe startups and scaleups have a real duty of care to the teams that make their success possible. We’re people above all else, and to truly thrive, we all need a supportive, safe working environment in which to challenge and learn from each other.
Growth should never come at the cost of well-being. Besides our general responsibility of creating and shaping our ways of working to establish a sustainable work environment, we ran a survey among our employees to understand how we can support their well-being even further. The top answer: provide access to a mental health provider. So, we’ve teamed up with Plumm to offer our team members comprehensive, confidential workplace support throughout the year.
Now we are able to provide our people with a safe, always-on space to connect with therapists and mental health practitioners.
Through the Plumm mobile app and platform, the Lokalise team has free access to:
- One-on-one video therapy sessions with accredited therapists
- Unlimited chat therapy
- A growing library of therapist-led digital well-being courses
- Guided meditation sessions
- Monthly live workshops
- Mental health first aid training
Critically, all of our managers will receive vital mental health training as well, to ensure nobody on our team faces burnout or other challenges alone.
Creating a safe environment
Plumm has proved to be only the starting point for our mission to provide a safe, supportive work environment. Since launching the initiative, our employees have created a mental health channel on Slack where they are free to openly share their experiences, concerns, or struggles.
One team member, a self-described ‘therapy veteran’ who struggles with anxiety and occasional panic attacks, said they used to hide their vulnerabilities from employers and colleagues. Now, they say that “sharing our vulnerabilities makes us human”.
“I realized the more vocal I was, the more people felt OK with sharing. I feel empowered by all the stories of vulnerability from other fellow humans, as a reminder that it is part of life to be unwell at times.”
Another member of the team shared their early experiences with Plumm. After an initial consultation with a therapist they felt was ‘not right’ for them, Plumm was able to allocate them an alternative counselor.
“I had my session today and it was amazing,” the team member said. “[The therapist] came in prepared, we even worked on some really old issues which I could evaluate in a new light, and she even sent me a follow-up with more reading resources and helpful techniques. Long story short, this really helped me today. This person was so committed that I’ll definitely book more sessions.”
Another member of the Lokalise team said: “All I want to say is: thank you Lokalise for offering this to us as a benefit. In all the years I’ve had therapy, I have never looked forward to the next session and doing the work required to make myself feel better. If anyone is hesitating, go for it. You don’t need to ‘have a problem’ to speak with someone.”
What we’ve learned is that the self-driven nature of our well-being initiative has meant that our team members feel able to express themselves in a confident – and confidential – manner.
Supporting one another and thriving together
As we move forward and grow as a company, we want to grow the knowledge and tools available to the team to ensure that everyone feels fully supported.
This includes several articles about work, life, and balance or tips and tricks to help our remote teams to stay happy and healthy. This will serve as a year-round ‘mental health kit’ for our staff but also for our talents and non-employees to better manage not only their own well-being but also to recognize when their colleagues might be struggling and offer them support.
At Lokalise, one of our key values is “Support one another. Thrive together”. Before scaling, before growth, we must create a safe space to take on the startup world. We hope that, with Plumm and other mental health initiatives, we can continue to be a thriving, healthy workplace where it’s not just the business that grows, but our people as well.