By Mind Side develops bespoke peer support technology for workplaces so that staff can support each other through the stresses and strains that life presents us with. We had a chat with their Director, Dan Ball.
Can you tell us a little bit about By Mind Side?
At By Mind Side we are passionate about workplace peer support programs and the proactive approach they offer to staff wellbeing when implemented effectively. We develop bespoke peer support applications to help organisations connect their staff to each other for emotional and mental health support. Our technology leverages data analytics to help facilitate meaningful connections and help pre-empt future mental health challenges.
Why do you think it is important for employers to focus on their team’s wellbeing?
We talk so much about reducing the stigma and shame surrounding mental health yet still heavily rely on reactive approaches and sometimes neglect the underlying workplace culture. We look to employers and senior leadership to set an example so it’s important for them to focus more efforts upstream, setting examples of a balanced lifestyle and encouraging conversations on the everyday strains of life. Society still needs to shake the notion that being busy and working yourself into the ground is somehow a badge of honour and employers have an important role to play in remedying this.
Why does working in the wellbeing space excite you?
We have an incredible opportunity in the wellbeing space to help shape people’s happiness, both at work and at home. Everyone has experience and knowledge to offer which could benefit someone else. This is human capital. It is exciting for me to help unlock that human capital through our technology and not only benefit the receiver of that new knowledge, but also boost the wellbeing of the giver. In the wellbeing space, not only do we have a role to play in helping people grow, but we can also encourage honesty and vulnerability. Yes, we want people to be the best version of themselves they can be, but we must acknowledge that it’s impossible for that to be the case every day. I love seeing people relaxed, happy and appreciated. Appreciated by themselves as well as others. So, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to help that.
What are some of the challenges in your work?
That senior leadership in some companies still hold the view that the mental health and wellbeing budget is just an overhead, rather than an investment. Somewhat akin to insurance. We must shift the focus away from immediate financial returns on investment. Measuring, say, how connected staff are to each other and how much time they spend with family, and correlating that to absenteeism and presenteeism over time will yield greater returns in the long run. To do this we must get away from the band-aid approach and thinking we know what is best for others. Just as governments create policies for demographics that they have little understanding of, some workplaces continue to form their mental health and wellbeing strategy without input from those with lived experience of mental health challenges. We must learn from staff with lived experience and co-design our strategies if we are to move from a reactive mindset to a proactive one.
You are a new member of WayAhead Workplaces- why did you decide to join and what are you most looking forward to?
No one person or organisation holds all of the answers. Collaboration is key in this space and WayAhead Workplaces offers a fantastic forum to learn from others. I’m ever so appreciative of the network it has provided me and kudos to Steph and the team for the great resources and events that are offered to members. Being down in Melbourne and having gone through quite a trying year with my new best friends Zoom and Google Meet, I’m so looking forward to the opportunity to meet everyone in person (fingers crossed) at the Annual Forum.
Director of By Mind Side