During the pandemic, the issue of caring for employee wellbeing has become more apparent than ever. Employers need to look after the physical health of employees every day through covid-safe working environments, but what about their mental wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing is something employers need to take seriously, and many major companies have been making efforts to do so. Building up good levels of mental health support can be difficult, especially for smaller businesses, so one option is to bring in additional providers who are dedicated to caring for employee wellbeing.
Helping employees Thrive
Thrive is a workplace wellbeing app that supports users in the workplace and outside it, based on the understanding that mental health struggles are not something we can simply leave at the office door. The team behind Thrive know that ‘stress, anxiety and depression don’t stick to a schedule, that’s why Thrive is available 24/7.’ The app can be used to manage moods, better understand stressors, find out whether you need support with your mental health and then get the support you need to manage it. Thrive is free to download but requires a code to access it which can be requested through their site.
Shifts in how we work due to the pandemic have added a lot of stress to many people’s lives – for some, working from home is a wonderful perk, for others it can be stressful and isolating. Thrive also offers support surrounding redundancies – something that has been unfortunately necessary during the pandemic.
Thrive is tailored to users based on the understanding that ‘where meditation might work well for one [person], deep-muscle relaxation or positive-message affirmation may work better for another.’ Everyone’s mental health needs vary as much as the types of support that work for them, Thrive caters for this with its wide variety of services.
‘Thrive is the only wellbeing app for the workplace to be approved by the NHS and provides whole-person solutions for workplaces and individuals to help them overcome periods of stress and care for their long-term mental health.’
Thrive recently raised £2.5m in only 10 days its latest round of funding. Having been oversubscribed with interested parties, Thrive has ‘been able to bring on board partners whose principles mirror [their] own, and are looking to use their investment to benefit society.’ The need for platforms such as Thrive has simply been highlighted by the pandemic, but not caused by it, so there will be continued demand long after the pandemic ends. The NHS will continue to need support from platforms such as this for some time to come as it deals with patient backlogs and staff suffering from burnout.
A smart business move
If businesses choose to supply Thrive’s services, the benefits are twofold. Not only will they be supporting employee wellbeing, but also gaining insight into what can be done to improve it; through Thrive businesses can access anonymous aggregated user data to gain better insight into the wellbeing of employees and see what can be done to better support them. These quarterly snapshots of wellbeing inside the business require at least 50 employees to be signed up in order to protect user anonymity and provide a reasonably accurate cross-section of the business. This makes caring for wellbeing in the interest of the company as a whole as well as staff as individuals.
‘Thrive is proven to proactively help individuals recover quicker from mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. This has shown to considerably reduce costs associated with treatment and absence for both the partner and the organisation.’
Though the financial benefits should not necessarily be a factor in deciding to offer wellbeing support, the fact is that ROI is a major consideration for many companies. The perceived costs of wellbeing support can sometimes be something that prevents employers from offering it, so the proven cost-saving nature of the platform will hopefully increase uptake.
Addressing the cause of the problem
Whilst it is wonderful that apps like this exist, there still remains the fact that workplace conditions are stressful enough to necessitate them. Helping employees cope with stress is great, but this alone does not address the root cause of the problem. This is where Thrive’s wellbeing snapshots truly come into their own – through these the app can actually be used to facilitate wider change in workplaces.
NHS mental health services are facing long waiting lists which means many people are turning to digital platforms as an alternative. Being seen sooner can come at a cost though – many premium wellbeing, mindfulness, and mental health services exist behind a paywall. These models can be cost-prohibitive for those on lower income or work for employers that do not provide mental wellbeing services. These costs can mean that wellbeing efforts are tacked on at a later date as opposed to integrated into general business practices from the start. Workplace wellbeing is not something that can afford to be an afterthought:
‘Wellbeing initiatives often fall short of their potential because they stand alone, isolated from the everyday business. To gain real benefit, employee wellbeing priorities must be integrated throughout an organisation, embedded in its culture, leadership and people management.’
The integration of wellbeing practices and open discussion of personal wellbeing in the workplace are vital in making these initiatives work – and make their effects stick.
Platforms such as Thrive that acknowledge different support needs are a welcome change from the one-size-fits-all approach of many services. The need for platforms such as these is greater now than ever. Hopefully, free access to platforms such as this will continue long after the pandemic ends and wellbeing efforts will remain a staple part of business plans and workplace culture.
These platforms alone are not a solution to the problem, integrating them into how we work and how we communicate as employers or employees is vital for their effectiveness and our wellbeing.
*If you are concerned about your mental health or that of a loved one, an NHS list of charities, organisations, and support groups can be found here.
About the Author: Leo Hynett
Leo Hynett is a contributing Features Writer, with a particular interest in Culture, the Arts and LGBTQ+ Politics.
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