Mridula Pore shares her insights on preventative care, the stress of being a CEO, and how busting taboos will always make us all healthier and happier.
[Maddyness] What is the scale of the problem of stress in the workplace?
[Mridula] Right now, it’s enormous. There’s an incredible amount of uncertainty around all kinds of workplaces right now, whether that’s schools, universities, restaurants, airlines, construction, manufacturing facilities, professional services firms… Whatever kind of work you do, your organisation is facing huge challenges.
The stress that people are feeling in their personal lives is also affecting the workplace. We know that lockdowns, job insecurity, financial pressures and health pressures are causing a lot of distress to individuals and families. That will inevitably impact people when they are at work.
How have workplaces become more accommodating of menopause, fertility, pregnancy – all of which can obviously cause stress – in recent years?
The conversation has certainly opened up around these topics, which can be difficult to talk about. People are more willing to speak about the challenges they, or their loved ones, are facing as they go through these life stages and the impact on them at work.
Giving colleagues the ‘permission to talk’ is the first step to being more accommodating as an employer. It needs to be done actively, with senior leaders being present in the conversation – raising the topic in the first place, sharing their personal stories, or simply stating that they are supportive of colleagues. We’re seeing the momentum for this building across all kinds of workplaces.
How can Peppy help here? And what else needs to change beyond Peppy’s remit?
Peppy provides individuals with the information, support and reassurance they need as they go through these big life stages. Everyone’s situation and journey are different, and our expert practitioners support you to get the best care and make the best decisions for you and your family.
But supporting one individual at a time is not enough for an organisation. There are a lot of taboos around the topics of fertility, having a baby or going through the menopause. It can be very difficult for individuals to speak up, and they might be worried about the consequences. The organisation needs to actively fosters a culture that allows people to raise these topics with HR and line managers. They then have to be prepared for people to speak up and have resources and tools available for them. Peppy can be one of these, but it can also be things like flexible working arrangements, additional sets of uniforms if someone is struggling with hot flushes, arrangements to take toilet breaks during a shift, or simply providing access to a window.