“I’m saying I go through the same things as everybody else, which gives employees license to utilize a mental health day,” Yip says. “Acknowledging that it’s okay to be stressed or burnt out creates psychological safety. After that, you need time. Company leaders need to make sure they’re giving employees time and space to process what they’re feeling, along with structured benefits and support. That’s the formula for how a company should think about mental health.”
Because of Yip’s willingness to share how he’s feeling, his employees have no qualms about following suit. For example, the company’s director of content recently posted this out-of-office message: “This Mental Health Awareness Month, Blueboard gave every employee a mental health day—and today, I’m taking mine. I may be: sleeping in, deep cleaning my apartment, frolicking in a field, laying in a sunbeam, painting with my fingers, staring at flowers… the long and short is I’m offline, prioritizing my wellbeing. (Hope you can do the same this long—if you’re in the U.S.—weekend.). I’ll respond to your message as soon as I can when I’m back in office next Tuesday.”
More than half (52%) of American workers believe that their employer isn’t doing enough to support employees’ mental health with the potential stress related to current global events, according to the Blueboard study. Furthermore, only 29% say that their employer has increased their mental health support due to everything that’s been happening around the country and the world over the past few months.
Yip understands how employees feel when their employers don’t value their mental health. As a matter of fact, that’s how Blueboard came to exist.
Working as an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Yip had to burn the midnight oil during the year-end audits. Due to a couple of colleagues quitting, he was stuck working 90–100-hour weeks for about two and a half months. By the end of the hellscape, he gained 20 pounds and his girlfriend was on the verge of breaking up with him.