Mental Health Remains as Important as Ever

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. Beyond just another day in the calendar, mental health should remain a focus for both employees and employers all year round. To ensure we create the space for that to happen, at Outbrain we are celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month for the entirety of October. Not only is good mental health beneficial for employee wellbeing, but research has shown that addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by up to 12%.

Mental health and work performance are more intertwined than many of us may think. It’s vital for both employee welfare and business success that staff feel supported at work and understand that mental health is just as important as physical health.

How has the pandemic shaped employee wellbeing support?

Research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. The pandemic reminded people of what’s important, with an increase in focus on domestic lives as we spent more time at home. As a result, traditional office jobs may never be the same again, and the need to support a positive work-life balance has never been more important.

Connecting with one another at work 

At Outbrain, community is a priority. No matter in which office our employees are based, we all work together towards a common, discovery-driven purpose. Be it with our Women’s Empowerment Group, our volunteer scheme ‘OBGood’, or initiating green initiatives via our ‘OBGreen’ environmental group – there’s something to be a part of no matter where your interests lie.

Whilst the pandemic presented new challenges in how to forge social connection, we created new ways to stay connected by leveraging technology including Zoom, Slack, or newsletters. The pandemic solidified the fact that work isn’t just about what you get done, but it’s about feeling supported whatever environment it’s done in – whether that’s virtual or not.

Maintaining a good work-life balance

One way we help Outbrainers maintain a work-life balance is by giving them the opportunity to have a flexible work schedule. Whilst work is a massive part of life, it is important that it does not become your whole life. At Outbrain, work-life balance isn’t just a phrase – it’s vital to our inner workings, allowing our teams to adapt their working hours around other important obligations and activities. In fact, in our most recent Employee Engagement Survey (August 2022), 86% of our employees ranked work-life blend favorably, and more specifically, 94% of our employees stated that they are able to arrange time out from work when they need to.

Creating a holistic wellbeing support package

The pandemic has brought employee wellbeing support into sharp focus, with most companies now having policies in place or building upon existing programs. In honor of Mental Health Day, we’ll be joined by Melinda Limoges, Certified Coach in Neurosciences, to teach Outbrainers how to work smarter – not harder. We’ll also be encouraging all Outbrainers to log off early and take time to go for a walk, read a book, or just spend time with family and friends.

Every day counts, and so a big part of Mental Health Awareness Month at Outbrain is about speaking up, sharing experiences, and ensuring we are all there for each other when we need a strong ecosystem around us, either to manage stress and avoid burnout, or to have a conversation and a laugh with a cup of tea. It is vital that companies practice what they preach and support their employees in whatever capacity they can. A happy work environment makes for happy workers.

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