Last October, HubbleHQ made the Sanctus mental health pledge to show our commitment to supporting mental health in the workplace. As a company who strongly believe that you should Love Where You Work, mental health and wellbeing are a key component of our company culture – and in this blog, you’ll see how we ensure that our actions reflect our ethos.
Wellbeing at work: a history
As you can see in our office space timeline infographic, one of the most striking changes in the workplace over the past 70 years has been the increase in importance attributed to employee wellbeing and mental health. And there’s no sign of this trend slowing down – from the rise in the number of onsite gyms and a concerted focus on activity and health, to the provision of childcare facilities and even nap pods in offices, it’s evident that workplace design has acknowledged that offices of the past just weren’t tailored for those using them. Teams don’t need a utilitarian box in which to keep their head down and work from 9-5 – the office is where most people will spend the majority of their waking hours, and their happiness, healthiness, and productivity are dependent on it.
Indeed, as a company, it can be costly to ignore the importance of mental wellbeing. Why? Research by mental health charity Mind shows the far-from-negligible effects of brushing the matter under the carpet. In a recent survey, when asked how workplace stress had affected them, more than one in five respondents agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work. Yet more concerning, 14% stated that they had resigned, and 42% admitted that they’d considered resigning when asked the same question. High employee turnover is, of course, highly detrimental to a team’s engagement, morale, and productivity. But fortunately, there are many simple ways in which such consequences can be avoided.
Wellbeing at HubbleHQ
When it comes to our practices at HubbleHQ, it’s all well and good signing a pledge – but its keeping to and acting on it that makes the difference. Our co-founder and CTO Tom Watson is committed to ensuring that the mental wellbeing of the team remains a high priority in company culture:
“We treat mental health the same way as we treat physical health – so it’s very normal at HubbleHQ to book a day off if you’re feeling overly anxious or stressed. This is really important to us as burnout is so common in the startup world, and in the long run isn’t good for your health, happiness or productivity.
The wellbeing of the team is crucial, for two reasons. Firstly on a human level, no-one should feel unhealthy or unhappy. Empathy is one of our values at HubbleHQ and it starts with caring about the wellbeing of every member of our team. Secondly on a professional level, if you’re healthy and happy you’re going to be doing better work. You’re going to be more creative and more efficient. There are numerous studies that support this so spending time or money improving the wellbeing of your team more than pays back.”
This proactive mentality has resulted in a number of initiatives that ensure the concept becomes a reality. Firstly, we operate a working structure that enables team members to find a routine that suits them. Hours are flexible, focusing on the work output as opposed to the hours spent sitting at a desk, and holidays are unlimited, to ensure that everybody feels sufficiently rested and able to perform at their best. We also have a relaxed ‘work from home’ policy, thus minimising the stress of day-to-day life, and we even have a number of team members working remotely across the world – so neither work nor personal life need be compromised.
As well as a flexible work structure, the team dynamic is also a huge contributor to the happiness of our team. As “friends first, colleagues second”, good communication and continuous support are a given between all levels and departments. But friendship and bonding doesn’t just happen. We’re keen on team activities, have Away Days every quarter, and never shy away from celebrating our successes together. On a weekly basis we have ‘Fika’ (a social Swedish tradition that is comparable to tea time), we have weekly ‘donuts’ with colleagues we may not necessarily have the chance to chat to otherwise, and regularly organise company-wide events such as poker or board game nights, ensuring there’s something for everyone.
We’re very proud of the culture that we foster at HubbleHQ, and back in March, we were delighted that our efforts were also recognised from an outside perspective – when we won 4 out of the 8 categories at the Property Week ‘Best Places to Work in Property Awards’.
But it’s not about winning awards. As much as we love being recognised for the measures that we have in place, mental health and wellbeing isn’t something that we consider to be a bonus or a privilege – it’s a culture that we believe should be present in all teams. And after all, what’s the point in having trophies if nobody stays around for long enough to appreciate them?