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World Mental Health Day: Chief People Officer Shares Plans For Prioritizing Employee Wellness

The organization’s approach to mental health includes the following:
  • Executives and people leaders are encouraged to speak out on issues of wellness and mental health to break the stigma. By sharing personal stories of mental health challenges or committing to simple acts, like changing the messages on their “out-of-office” alerts to say that they are taking time off, they would be leading by example.
  • All employees are entitled to two mental health days off—one in May and one in October. This initiative was introduced in October 2020, during the pandemic, and the company has now decided to make it permanent.
  • During October 2021, in honor of Mental Health Day, Thomson Reuters is running a month-long campaign, including:
  • Individualized and anonymous psychological self-assessment tools to help employees identify their strengths, risks and develop individualized strategies.
  • A 14-day mindfulness challenge using the Headspace app. which can include activities ranging from mini-meditation in the morning to breathing exercises before bed.
  • The launch of a Mental Health Playbook for people leaders to support them in creating safe spaces to talk about mental health.
  • In 2020, the company introduced shortened meetings to ensure scheduled breaks between back-to-back virtual meetings and added online collaboration tools (virtual whiteboards).
  • Diversity and inclusion must be a top priority of the executive team and the board of directors. Attracting diverse candidates means nothing, in the long run, if they don’t stay. Companies need to develop a culture that supports and cultivates diverse talent. This means implementing programs that help women and other diverse talents not only stay but thrive in the workforce.However, there are considerations to keep in mind. From the strain of excessive close-up eye contact to dwelling on the unnatural size of our features in the video display, virtual meetings are taking a mental toll on people—leaving them more tired than in-person interactions.She admitted, “It is far more taxing to be on Zoom calls or Teams calls than it is to be in person, where many people get energy from being physical with other people.”
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