mindfulness, woman practising meditation, mindful wellbeing

In the run up to World Mental Health Day, business leaders and CEOs from the tech industry talk to us about the impact the last eighteen months has had on their teams’ mental wellbeing and how they’re planning to support them through the transition to hybrid working.

James Hallahan, Director of Hays Technology, UK & IrelandJames Hallahan, Director of Hays Technology, UK & Ireland

“In a recent survey we looked at the effects of the pandemic on the world of work. 34% of technology professionals said the most negative impact was the blurring of the work-life balance and 25% said it was an increase in workload. Working from home has made it more difficult for people to ‘switch off’ at the end of the day.

“However, remote working is here to stay and we are seeing an increase in the numbers of IT employees contracted to work from home, so it’s really important that organisations make sure they look after their remote workers and help them avoid burn-out. They can do this by implementing strategies that encourage people to take proper breaks and switch off their computers at the end of the day. These need to be embedded in company culture and senior leaders must be seen to be walking the walk so that everyone knows is the acceptable way to behave.

“At Hays we have launched mental health initiatives for all our employees, customers and candidates. POWR is an app for all staff to help them develop skills for improved personal wellbeing, and Hays Thrive is a free product for all of our customers. We offer online courses to help organisations find better ways to support their employees, which was vital during lockdown and the subsequent months of remote learning. There was a course specifically designed to support mental health during uncertain times. Our candidate-focused product includes free training for upskilling in different areas and also training in resilience and mental health.”

Alex Arundale Chief People Officer at AdvancedAlex Arundale, Chief People Officer, Advanced

“It’s vital for an individual’s wellbeing that they can bring their authentic selves to work. One of the things we’ve learned from lockdown, when we all had a virtual window into each other’s homes, is that we are all different. Our lives, our experiences and the things that matter to each of us are what drives us and it’s that diversity that enriches the businesses we work for. But people can only be fully themselves in the workplace if they feel safe, accepted and welcomed there. Businesses that actively promote a diversity and inclusion policy and have a clear strategy about how to implement it are giving themselves a competitive edge. They recognise that employees who feel genuinely valued for who they are, and are properly rewarded for their work, demonstrate greater loyalty, are more likely to stay with the business, and are more effective and productive within their roles. We’ve used data collected for our recent Diversity Pay Gap Report to help us understand who is represented where in the business so we can take steps to promote more opportunities for everyone at all levels. In order to gain deeper insights we invite all employees to adopt the role of Diversity Leader and have set up employee resource groups, including Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ Team Rainbow, Women’s Network and Disability Inclusion Network.  They help us to shape policy and strategies for increasing diversity. People are usually most committed to changes when they feel they have a stake in them and have some ownership over the solutions.”

Marco Fanizzi VP & GM of Commvault EMEA_0480Marco Fanizzi, VP and General Manager of Commvault, EMEA

“The potential issue I’m keeping a close eye on at the moment is whether a short term increase in team productivity that we have seen from the shift to more home working will have a longer term impact on our people’s mental wellbeing.

“Our CEO has taken strong, proactive measures by designating four mental wellbeing days for all employees globally, in addition to regular leave. It is very important for us to give our employees clear additional consideration to adjust to the continually evolving balance of personal and work elements in their lives.  These are important for us to keep our employees well and focused on their wellbeing, but we are also still identifying and working on resolving emerging issues around employee wellbeing in other ways.

“Looking further ahead we want to be completely flexible and will offer a hybrid environment so they can come into the office setting when they need to. We also have specific approaches for different people – senior people are generally more independent, for instance, but we will still offer a development place for young talent to meet, learn and share the environment with others and in time, get back to normality.”

“Our working lives must be flexible, sustainable, fair, without differences, and with diversity and inclusion providing a foundation for a positive shared future.” 

Sam Fuller MD and founder of The Wellbeing ProjectSam Fuller, Founder and MD, The Wellbeing Project

“Our Wraw Resilience Report 2021 looked at how different groups were coping with wellbeing and resilience and we found that women experienced a greater drop in their resilience during the pandemic, experiencing a decline that’s 68% larger than men. Resilience is an important indicator of overall wellbeing as it reflects the ability to deal with challenges and bounce back. The lower scores for women may indicate that they have struggled more because of additional challenges around domestic responsibilities, home schooling and fitting the demands of their family in with their work. Even in these enlightened times, not all employers are as understanding about those challenges as they could be. When we look closer a the data, we can also see that middle adulthood appears to be very challenging, with people aged 36-45 years having the lowest scores for energy than the other age groups. Again, this may be a reflection of other pressures, including family life, alongside higher than average self-imposed work pressures and expectations. It is very important that senior leaders model healthy behaviours so that the rest of the organisation can see that is acceptable to take a proper lunch break, and to stop answering emails at the end of contracted hours.”

Janette MartinJanette Martin, CEO, 360 Resourcing

“Our company culture at Talos360 is very much about being open, honest, friendly fun and unafraid to say what we think. Challenge is key to learning, development and innovation, and it’s a principle that is encouraged and enacted by everyone, including the senior leadership team. Transparency and authenticity are crucial, if we want people to keep bringing the best of themselves to work every day. We also work hard get to know every member of our team, and that is invaluable when it comes to spotting when people are struggling or might be at risk of burnout. We understand that everyone is human and our lives can sometimes get complicated, and no one should feel embarrassed about that. Regular communication to make sure people are doing ok, combined with leaders behaving in the way we want and expect everyone else to behave, is really important for maintaining a healthy and happy workforce. Our fortnightly ‘Tribe’ meetings, in the office and via Teams for those working remotely, are an opportunity to share our news, both business and personal.”