October 10, 2022
One of our values is ‘Care deeply’ which means that not only do we care about the customers we serve, but all the people that are part of Form3 as well as our environment. Importantly, at Form3 we want to ensure that our employees feel supported when it comes to mental health.
With so much going on in the world, we understand that there are various factors that can affect an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. It is estimated that 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace, which can limit someone’s ability to carry out their daily activities or negatively impact their performance at work. Being a remote first company, our social interactions are different to the traditional office-based workforce and whilst we work hard to ensure we don’t lose human connection through using communication tools such as Slack and Zoom, we realise that more proactive support is required for our team.
We recently launched a training module ‘A Manager’s Guide to Mental Health’ which was put together to provide guidance to managers on reducing stigma by openly discussing mental health, identifying symptoms and behaviours associated with poor mental health and implementing steps to benefit the overall wellbeing of teams'.
Additionally, we currently offer a health and wellness allowance which enables our team to claim back the cost of health and wellness products/services that they purchase. This can include using their allowance towards therapy and counselling sessions as well as mindfulness app subscriptions such as Headspace or Mind. We also encourage employees to make use of their Learning Days (paid time off for learning!) and train to become qualified Mental Health First Aiders so that they are able to support other colleagues by offering initial support through non-judgemental listening and guidance. We currently have 11 Mental health First Aiders at Form3, and we are hopeful that this number will increase as we continue to work towards creating an emotionally open culture where everyone feels comfortable to seek support as and when needed.
We are proud to champion flexible working. With the removal of traditional 9-5 working hours, we aim to encourage a work-life balance that enables our team to work from wherever they feel happiest and most productive. By encouraging a flexible approach to working hours we believe this will help individuals to schedule their working days in a way they works best for them to maintain this work-life balance. While we operate as a remote first business, we know that working remotely can reduce social interaction opportunities. This is why we pay a lot of attention to ways we can keep connected remotely – our recent blog post focused on this topic, and you can read it here.
After much consideration, we have decided to implement ‘Spill’ at Form3. Spill provides all-in-one mental health support for companies via Slack. This will allow our employees to speak with qualified therapists over video, phone or message, giving them the flexibility to seek support in a way that is most comfortable for them. Not only does this approach provide quick and easy access for our team, but it also prevents the delays that often come with traditional Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) where employees often have to wait for a referral to receive counselling support. We also believe that good line management is crucial to supporting employee mental health. Whilst EAP services are tailored to individuals, Spill supports the company as a whole by also training managers in handling difficult and emotional situations, enabling them to further support their teams' and intervene in the early stages.
Ruby Kumashie is a People Partner & Mental Health First Aider at Form3, based in the UK.