It’s been in the news quite a bit lately, the shocking statistics that show us how common mental health issues are, and how workplace stress is part of that. That’s why I wanted to read this article and think about how organizations should be considering making mental health a part of the company culture. The unfortunate part of the article is that while I’m glad Brian feels like looking out for the employees and their mental health is important, I’m not sure that any CEO who has not had their own issues would do the same.
The anxiety attacks started in 1990, when I moved from Vancouver to Montreal. Leaving my family, my fledgling business, and my girlfriend behind triggered them…and they didn’t stop for 10 years. I couldn’t sit in a movie theater or board an airplane because I’d panic. I tried yoga and meditation, cut out caffeine and alcohol, but nothing worked.
In desperation, I reached out to my peers at Entrepreneurs’ Organization for advice. Within 24 hours, I received 64 calls from other entrepreneurs who shared similar experiences. Their stories showed me I wasn’t alone. Talking to others who’d conquered their panic attacks convinced me to get the treatment I needed.
This experience is why I care so deeply about making sure my company strives to be a mentally healthy workplace. After all, one in four people will suffer from some sort of mental disorder during their lifetime, and half of all long-term office absences are related to mental health.
Here’s how we create working conditions that reduce day-to-day stress and enable people to thrive.
So Brian shares what they do, and what they are doing is good. It’s important to him, because of his experience, and hopefully, by sharing his story, other organizations will take these thing seriously. I especially like that he recognized the need for “real” work-life balance. Too many companies pay lip service to the idea that employees should have a life that is not work, or offer some nice sounding benefits meant to help with maternity/paternity leave, or even unlimited vacation, but still expect results that require almost constant connectivity. I mean, hey great you offer unlimited vacation, but expect me to answer calls from clients regardless. That’s not actually vacation, is it?
It’s important to spend a minute and think about how much stress people are dealing with because of their work, and how the culture itself contributes to it. Why?
Because the stress is, literally, killing us:
Dr Izle Bot said “In the past decade, more and more individuals experience psychosocial stress on a daily basis. Heavy workloads, job insecurity, or living in poverty are circumstances that can result in chronically increased stress, which in turn can lead to chronic psychological disorders such as depression. Besides the heavy psychological burden, chronic stress is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Frankly, life has plenty of stress. If the workplace is nothing more than additional stress, we might just be killing the people who work for us instead of getting better work from them. That’s a pretty bad way to run a business, and a rotten way to try and build a career.