INSIDE THOMSON REUTERS
Stepping up to the challenge
Thomson Reuters gives employees second mental health day off and signs the Mindful Business Charter
As a leading global employer in the knowledge economy, Thomson Reuters understands the critical importance of the mental health and wellness of our employees. In our company, our people produce value with their heads not their hands and, therefore, it’s only natural that we would focus on supporting the health of the minds our people. Our business powers the world’s most informed professionals in the legal, tax, government, and media sectors. Knowing how critical mental health and wellness is to our customers is another reason we feel so strongly about this issue and have made wellbeing a central pillar of the employee experience at Thomson Reuters.
With the global pandemic, our employees have shown tremendous resilience and dedication by shifting to working from home to continue supporting customers. But working from home during the pandemic has presented incredible challenges including; balancing work with children at home in virtual school, the blurred lines between home and work life that make us feel like we’re ‘always on’ and, isolation from friends and family which deprives us of our usual outlets for stress relief.
As the pandemic has dragged on, we’ve seen the effects on mental health and wellness grow. In the U.S., a combination of increased stress, more sedentary lifestyle, and lack of social interaction over the last year lead to 4 in 10 adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, a surge in alcohol and tobacco use, problems sleeping, and undesired weight changes among a 61% of the population.
While Thomson Reuters scores highly in organization health and prides itself in leading our peers, the reality is that we aren’t immune to these issues. Despite our efforts, we haven’t been spared from the ill effects of working from home and our surveys show our employees are feeling increasingly disconnected and anxious. Across our teams, the feeling of being ‘connected’ with co-workers crested at 74% but dipped to the low 60’s and our employees cited ‘anxious’ as one of the top three emotions over the past year.
To combat this, Thomson Reuters is stepping up its approach to mental health and wellness in the workplace. We’ve announced a second mental health day off for our employees (May 7th on top of October 25th) throughout the week of May 10th, we’ve organized a series of resiliency sessions and discussions with leading experts for our employees, and, we’re affirming our company’s commitment to the wellbeing of our employees by signing on to the Mindful Business Charter. By signing on to the Mindful Business Charter, Thomson Reuters is joining a group of organizations committed to ensuring that mindful business practices are embedded into the workplace and creating an environment where everyone can speak openly and confidently about wellbeing.
These new mental health and wellness initiatives augment our existing support for employees including our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Reuters Peer Support Network, making the Headspace App available to all our employees, and ongoing training and support programs for our people managers and employees.
Over the past year, we’ve learned a lot about remote work – learning that has informed our approach to a hybrid working model for our office-based employees. At the same, time, we’ve also learned a great deal about the important links between our work and our mental health. While working from home has brought benefits such as productivity gains and time saved due to reduced commuting, an honest assessment shows there have been costs to our mental health and wellness which simply cannot be ignored. Striking the right balance and ensuring we continue to support the mental health of our employees is critical for Thomson Reuters or any knowledge-based employer.
As we mark Mental Health Awareness Month, providing our employees with a second mental health day and embedding the principles of mindfulness in our business are important steps in our goal of ensuring wellbeing stays at the center of our work and lives. If you are an existing or prospective customer of ours and would like to talk about how business can step up for their people, we would welcome the dialogue.
Mary Alice Vuicic is the Chief People Officer at Thomson Reuters
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