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Xero drives awareness to fight stigma of mental health in the workplace

Xero, the global small business platform, recently introduced changes to leave entitlements for its more than 2000 global staff, to promote and encourage a safe and inclusive environment for everyone at the company, where they are able to access personal leave for their wellbeing and mental health when needed.

Introduced globally on World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the new Wellbeing Leave changes mean Xero staff can now not only take leave for physical or mental illness, to cover medical procedures, when a partner or dependent requires care, but also to take time off for their own personal wellbeing.

One in five people are affected by a mental illness, yet few speak up because of the social stigma attached to it. Xero’s goal with Wellbeing Leave is to give the more than 2000 Xero employees around the world access to more resources to focus on their personal wellness, and reduce the stigma attached to mental health in the workplace.

“People come to Xero to do the best work of their lives, which is why it’s vital we support not only their physical wellbeing, but their mental wellbeing as well,” said Rachael Powell, Chief Customer and People Officer at Xero. “Mental illness and poor wellbeing is something that affects many people, including small businesses; most people will encounter it in themselves or someone they love during their lifetime. We cannot afford to ignore it.”

“We hope this small step will help those who need to take time out for their personal wellbeing to do so without feeling a stigma.”

The theme of World Mental Health Day 2018 is “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World,” highlighting the need to focus on preventing and supporting mental illness in those from a young age.

The efforts during World Mental Health Day form part of Xero’s broader commitment to champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and supporting flexible ways of working for all.

“We fundamentally believe in the power of the human touch at Xero, and creating a positive inside-out culture that starts with every single Xero employee and resonates out to our partners and customers,” Powell said. “When we get this right, our people go from functioning to flourishing, which means that everyone inside Xero is set up to play to their strengths and do their best work. A powerful human ripple effect occurs which means we are better able to serve our broader network. Ultimately this has a positive impact by helping global small business thrive.”


By Ndileka Swakamisa