Start-ups are a thrilling and insightful beginning for many. Start-up environments create multiple avenues for exciting opportunities which can cause fast-paced and high-pressure work environments. It is easy to get carried away by the passion displayed by the team. This can be detrimental to the quality of your work, as one forgets to take time for self-care when committed to building such exciting projects.
Mental health is as important as one’s physical health, arguably, even more. Unfortunately, it is often neglected as one gets busy with life’s responsibilities. However, it is of utmost importance to allocate time to care for one’s mental health, as it can improve the quality of your work which heavily impacts the success of the start-up as well. Investing in mental health can undoubtedly benefit both the person concerned and the trajectory of the start-up. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers to comprehend the rate at which mental health is affected in start-ups.
The Challenges of Mental Health in Start-Ups
Start-up comes with plenty of uncertainty which can be extremely anxiety-inducing for employees and founders alike. Often, these environments demand and expect high-quality work with tight deadlines and limited resources. This can significantly increase the stress and exhaustion of employees. A study found that long hours of work (<11 hours a day) can increase the chances of mental health problems by 24.3%. Founders on their entrepreneurial journey are also susceptible to affected wellbeing. A whopping 72% reported that the responsibilities took a toll on their mental health, with 37% suffering from anxiety and 36% from burnout.
This negative shift in mental health can affect one’s short-term and long-term work quality which inevitably affects the organization's success of the start-up. Hence, it is necessary to address these potential problems at the earliest to ensure it does not hinder the trajectory of the start-up’s success. For this reason, we have curated a blog to sum up strategies to promote mental health in start-up environments.
Setting the Tone: Leadership's Role
Start-ups tend to be a closer-knit workforce as they share many experiences and are required to coordinate to overcome hurdles. This makes the founder’s job ten times more important, as employees will look to the leader to show the way. Leaders must be an exemplar model to follow for healthy work strategies which employees will eventually mimic.
To successfully employ this tactic, leaders must prioritize their own mental health. This will foster a work culture that promotes healthy and quality work over fast and poor-quality delivery. Employees will learn to allocate time to work on their mental health as well.
As a start-up, one must employ strategies to foster a culture emphasizing wellbeing. There are several strategies an organization can employ to improve wellbeing.
Fostering a Culture of Wellbeing
Flexibility in Schedule
Employing a flexible work schedule is a simple but significant tactic to improve productivity and mental health. By doing so, employees won’t feel compelled to sit at their workstations without having any productive results. They will feel more at ease to take rest when required.
Take time to have one-on-one discussions with your employees. These sessions can encourage them to freely open up about their concerns and struggles. Furthermore, they will feel heard by their organization which itself will improve mental health. Work together to coordinate their commitment to the organization and their mental well-being.
Leaders can enforce a monthly meeting committed to discussing any concerns or challenges they may be facing in the workplace. This open communication will open opportunities for bonding and shared experiences while being able to address pressing issues. According to their response, leaders can set up precautions and measures to tackle them.
Investing in Mental Health
Start-ups should invest in promoting mental health as it will prove to have an invaluable return on investment. Employees will be more committed to the goal of the cause of the start-up if they feel heard and cared for by the organization. Here are some easy investments start-ups can begin with:
ManahWellness offers a program called ACTS consisting of measures targeting employees’ mental health. This program includes mental health Assessments to understand the extent of the complication, Content pieces to address and overcome mental health challenges, Tools to record and bolster their mental health journey, and Skilling, focused on incorporating micro-skills that will improve overall mental wellbeing.
Mental Health First-Aid
A program built to empower employees with the toolkit to help a colleague during a mental health crisis. This teaches how to identify and reach out to people struggling with mental health. This peer-to-peer help will foster an understanding environment for mental health issues.
Working in a start-up environment can challenge your mental health. One must actively participate in mental health exercises and self-care to maintain wellbeing. Leaders play a crucial role in setting an example for mental health. It will cause a ripple effect within the employees, which will in turn improve the overall wellbeing of the organization. Additionally, investing in mental health will rapidly enhance the mental health of employees.
Manahverse is an app powered by AI that can take care of all mental health-related concerns for employees. Features like mood-boards, nudges, and journaling can enhance sustained mental health. One can even opt to book an appointment with experts and have access to a helpline available 24/7 for counseling support.