The pandemic has ultimately changed people’s perception of mental health, as mental health issues are coming closer to home. World Health Organization (WHO) said that adapting to lifestyle changes—navigating through the work-from-home setup, accepting temporary unemployment, being a parent and a teacher during children’s forced homeschooling, and just getting used to the lack of physical contact with friends and family, among others—is challenging for all of us, and that is something that we should take a moment to acknowledge especially as we celebrate Mental Health Month.
And adapting to challenges transpires beyond the family setting. In the workplace setting, for instance, a study from MindNation, a mental health and well-being company, showed that 23% of employees are thinking of quitting their jobs due to stress, anxiety, or depression. Meanwhile, 47% said they were overworked. WHO had also acknowledged work-related burnout as an "occupational phenomenon."
This is why employers must acknowledge employees' common feedback about stress and anxiety, especially given the major lifestyle changes not only at work but also at home. More importantly, they should be proactive in taking necessary actions to avoid burnout that could lead to declined productivity, disengagement, and increased turnover.
After all, studies showed that denying employees’ complaints of mental health issues does not solve anything. If not addressed early, the effects could be far worse. A recent study by researchers from Stanford University revealed that workplace stress affects healthcare costs. WHO also said that 615 million people worldwide suffer from depression and anxiety, which cost the global workforce an estimated $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.
“We are collectively living through an unprecedented life experience and it is more important than ever that employers are considerate of the variety of emotional experiences their employees are going through. In practice, this means companies may need to evaluate policies and procedures that address psychological health and safety,” said Rachel Lutz-Guevara, TaskUs’s Vice President of Global Wellness & Resiliency. “If they have not done so, now is the time for employers to strengthen their respective Wellness & Resiliency (W&R) efforts in the workplace.”
At TaskUs, Wellness & Resiliency has long been part of the company’s culture, which is very evident in some of its core values such as “Work Hard, Have Fun,” “Exercise Emotional Intelligence,” and “Continuous Self-Improvement.” The company also ensures that employees have the right tools and support to create a healthy workplace for themselves to improve any feelings of stress, anxiety, or burnout. The TaskUs Wellness & Resiliency team, which officially started in February 2019, has been successful in initiating workplace wellness efforts such as 24/7 psychological and psychiatric services, digital courses on wellness, yoga and meditation, among others.
TaskUs’s coaching program reached 10,000+ sessions in just a year
One of the programs that TaskUs’s W&R team takes pride in is their in-house coaching sessions. “We have in-house life coaches who are available 24/7 to attend to an employee’s concerns. Employees can present a variety of issues—from relationship with their colleagues and personal struggles, to professional development and career advice,” said Guevara. “Our life coaches provide a listening ear and are trained in an International Coaching Federation coaching model, Transformational Coaching. We have a 91% satisfaction rate with our coaching sessions.”
TaskUs puts huge importance on the wellness program. In fact, TaskUs leads the industry in investing in Wellness & Resiliency at this scale for employees. If numbers are of any basis, the program has proven to be successful. From September 2020 to September 2021 alone, TasksUs's individual coaching program reached 10,000 sessions and a total of 13,000 group sessions in the Philippines, which contributed to the 94% employee well-being score that TaskUs recorded recently.
"The life coaches are very approachable. They proactively reach out to you to ask if you are doing fine or how you are feeling at the moment. It feels like I have a one-call-away best friend that I can talk to and can give me professional advice," says an employee who has been maximizing W&R's one-on-one coaching sessions. "Their excellent assistance gives me more confidence and reminds me that there is someone who is always ready to listen to me."
This is also the same sentiment of another TaskUs employee. She said, “I decided to give our one-on-one coaching program a try. I felt heard and I felt the support of my coach which I truly appreciate. I am willing to have other sessions in the future."
TaskUs’s wellness program has been well-received by its employees: the W&R department scored a 94% employee net promoter score (eNPS) in 2020, while TaskUs received a 72% eNPS globally.
At the very center of the program are the life coaches who, like salespeople, are professionally trained for certification. "We have heavily invested in the Transformative Coaching training of our 49 life coaches and W&R leadership with Coach Master's Academy,” explains Guevara. “Transformative coaching integrates the advanced adult learning theories with the science of positive psychology that offer our life coaches a very powerful tool to enable change and support that are highly sustainable.”
Respected industry award-giving bodies such as the 18th International Business Awards, 6th Stevie Awards for Great Employers, Business Intelligence Group, and Comparably. have also consistently acknowledged TaskUs’s top-notch W&R efforts.
TaskUs is not one to rest on its laurels. As the program has been proven to be highly successful in the Philippines, US, India, and Mexico, it is now expanding to other TaskUs locations, particularly in Colombia, Greece, and Taiwan.
“Mental health issues happen across the globe and not just in certain geos. The expansion is a reflection, not only of the company’s but also, of the industry and the world’s acknowledgment that mental health is important. It is all the more important to become proactive in taking care of everybody’s mental health,” explains Guevara. “Mental health access should be available to all.”
Not only does being proactive and having foresight help the company but it also helps its people—the very human beings who need understanding and care more than ever before.
"During the one-on-one sessions, they let me talk about how I feel and share my recent experiences. They are all ears. That made me feel safe and well-heard," said another employee. "Those sessions helped me become the person I am today: joyous, positive, and hopeful. I am grateful for having scheduled wellness sessions every week; it keeps me sane, normal, and mentally healthy."