Closeup of sad young Asian woman at cafe leaning head on clasped hands and staring into vacancy. Tired freelancer feeling burnout. Stress and bad news concept, stress

How tech companies can promote women’s mental health

Closeup of sad young Asian woman at cafe leaning head on clasped hands and staring into vacancy. Tired freelancer feeling burnout. Stress and bad news concept, stress

By Elizabeth Hatt, Director at Boomi

The pandemic’s widespread impact on the mental health of workers has been well documented, with a survey from the UCL finding that depression and anxiety symptoms increased sharply over the Christmas period.

While many employees experience periods of stress and anxiety, this has only increased during this long period of uncertainty. Is the pandemic over? Will it ever be over? We mull over these questions as we dig deep to push past something that feels like it may never fully end. The effect this has had is detrimental to the well-being and productivity of employees as well as to the success of a business.

Building back confidence

Every individual will respond differently, and we can’t predict the future, but there are several promising approaches we can take to improve the mental health and day to day livelihood of workers.

We’re talking specifically about women’s mental health and when I speak to women in tech roles about mental health, the same issues emerge. Competence and ability abound but due to a variety of reasons, both internal and external, confidence may not be in such high supply.

I find that a great way to support confidence is through mentoring and actively engaging in understanding the source of their confidence (or lack thereof).  According to a study by the Cambridge Judge Business School, mentoring programs can help reduce anxiety, ergo, it must help build confidence.

Opening up

As we move forward, we need to make sure that we are continuing to offer the flexibility that has been afforded to employees throughout the pandemic to provide some measure of consistency as they transition into the post-pandemic world. The idea of going back into a crowded workplace may excite some and unnerve others.  So, how, on a more permanent basis, do we develop and maintain an inclusive working environment while operating in different physical locations?

At Boomi I am exploring a more programmatic approach to this, getting innovative ideas from our teams on how we proactively nurture inclusion and understand what makes our employees feel at ease.

Businesses need to adjust or remove expectations. They have to be open and talk to their employees and continue to have those conversations surrounding mental health. At Boomi, we have created a wellness space, whereby everyone is encouraged to share and discuss their thoughts and feelings on the topics of mental health.

By creating and maintaining this community, whether through an active messaging channel, invited speakers or virtual exercise classes, all within the workplace, it creates an open dialogue that encourages conscious awareness of nurturing wellness in all facets of life and business.

Happy & Hybrid

Employees must be given the opportunity to articulate what they need in order to succeed at work and wellness.  This could be a more comprehensive, codified hybrid work scheme, allowing employees to take back control over their lives or challenging the status quo of traditional office life. As WFH restrictions are lifted, companies must tread carefully when establishing future working arrangements and the impact on their employees.

Establishing agility

Businesses should also look to pivot towards a results-based environment rather than hours worked, as showcased in the McKinsey ‘Agility in the time of COVID-19’ report. By maintaining vigilance with results, it will ensure everyone is fully transparent with regards to what they want to improve on and achieve going forward.

These points are relevant to both men and women.  Given we want to continue supporting gender balance in the tech industry we need to be sure that our future working environments help retain and attract women.

We can all play a role in nurturing and coaching. By encouraging reticent women to speak out about any concerns they may have, it frees up the workplace, traditionally mired in its own office politics, to focus on what’s most important for everyone, personal and business-wide growth.

Business Woman in tech. Stronger together, Happy women or girls standing together , girls, power, strong, strength, feminism Feminine, woman empowerment, vector illustration.

How tech can help support women’s mental health

Business Woman in tech. Stronger together, Happy women or girls standing together , girls, power, strong, strength, feminism Feminine, woman empowerment, vector illustration.Article by Juliet Bauer, UK Managing Director, Livi

From research to diagnoses, even in 2022 women’s health is often still an afterthought. This is a problem that starts long before the doctor’s surgery, and it has serious implications for individuals and society as a whole. 

Many of these problems are systemic, bound up in the social inequality we see expressed in the gender pay gap, and lack of senior female leaders, especially in healthcare. But they’re not impossible to overcome, and at Kry Livi we are working hard to make healthcare more accessible, fair and equitable.

Kry Livi is Europe’s largest digital healthcare provider, and as a senior leader I feel a personal responsibility to harness the power of digital and improve healthcare for everyone.

By involving thousands of clinicians and hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK, Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, digital healthcare has the potential to effect change on a massive scale.

This year we will boost access to a range of secondary and specialist services, including mental health. Already available in Sweden, we have just launched our Online Therapy service in the UK.

Recent research commissioned by Kry Livi found that almost 50% of people in the UK feel more stressed now than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. The reasons might not surprise you – work pressure and financial concerns are both among the main stress factors as the cost of living continues to rise.

What was particularly notable is that more women (61%) reported feeling stressed than men (47%), with one in three feeling stress every day. Alongside work and money, concern for friends and relatives was one of the main stressors we identified, perhaps reflecting the extra care burden many women experience.

Long-term stress can make people more susceptible to mental and emotional ill health. For those feeling significant levels of stress every day, it’s important to seek help.

We know that many women find it challenging to carve out the time for in-person appointments, and this is where the flexibility of digital consultations can help improve access, and make it easier for women to get the help they need. Our new Online Therapy service allows patients to receive talking therapy via video consultation at home, at a time that suits them, in a safe and secure online environment.

Of course, it is better that people are not exposed to excessive levels of stress in the first place. Our findings, showing high levels of financial and work-related stress among women, should also make us all reflect on our own workplace culture, and how we can create an environment in which both women and men can thrive and progress.

At Livi we’ve supported managers to remove gendered language from job descriptions, and trained our people to understand and interrupt bias throughout the selection process. We’ve improved representation in our talent pipelines and we know the value of diverse interview panels. And we will continue to educate, and re-engineer processes where necessary to mitigate bias.

We also recognised early on the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on women. Many have been shouldering a greater proportion of parental duties during lockdown, so we provided support to working parents and caregivers to flex their hours and re-prioritise their work.

But we go beyond that. Our managers work with their teams on a one-to-one basis to understand individual circumstances and find the right support solution for each person. This framework is now a formalised way of working – we agree with every employee how and where they can best perform.

As a result, Women represent just over 50% of our upper pay quartile, indicating equal representation at the most senior level. In fact, the data shows that there is a higher proportion of women compared to men across all pay quartiles.

This makes Livi almost unique among tech companies in that our gender pay gap is closed – I mean to keep it that way. We owe it to our patients to ensure our own house is in order, as we harness the power of digital to improve access and make healthcare more equitable.