Mental health awareness is an indispensable consideration for the modern workplace—especially in the tech industry. The coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns and quarantines forced many tech workers out of their offices and into isolation, but more and more leaders are speaking out about the support their workforces need. Australian tech billionaire Cliff Obrecht, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Canva, is doing his part to lead by example for his home country and the rest of the industry. For starters, Obrecht has instituted an additional week of leave for Canva employees and is offering them 13 counseling sessions through an employee assistance program. Both of these measures are meant to alleviate employee mental health struggles.
Obrecht also recognizes the unique challenges for working parents juggling professional performance and child care, which is one of many reasons Canva has “reset” its expectations for employee output. For others, especially younger team members, the company has instituted online events like exercise and cooking classes to keep them engaged and provide a semblance of community. Also, Wednesdays are meeting-free, a simple but impactful measure that aims to reduce video call fatigue. Mental health disorders affect at least 1 in 5 Americans, and roughly half of those struggle with substance abuse as well.