Nominet offers targeted mental health support to staff

Oxford-based technology firm Nominet, which has more than 250 employees, has for the past 25 years run the .UK domain name internet infrastructure that underpins network detection and response solutions used by governments to mitigate cyber threats.

As part of its mental health support approach, the organisation places significant emphasis on breaking down the stigma around mental health for male staff. It has held webinars around this topic, including one by Jake Mills who founded Chasing the Stigma, which is one of Nominet’s mental health initiative partners. Mills agreed to share his own experiences, focusing on some of the challenges men face regarding their mental health.

Nominet supports employees’ mental health by placing a focus on both the mind and body. It offers a holiday allowance of 30 days, above the national average, in recognition that having downtime is essential to recharge, explains Beverley Hamblet–Bowes, director of HR at Nominet. “Our employee assistance programme offers a 24/7 online counselling service to staff, and we provide the  wellbeing assessment tool Pascal that enables staff to measure home and work pressures,” she adds.

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To balance these ‘mind’ provisions, Nominet promotes its benefit schemes which offer a focus on physical health. “For example, we are an advocate of the Cycle2Work project, which helps staff with the cost of a bicycle to stay active,” says Hamblet-Bowes. “Physical health initiatives such as gym discounts, a virtual GP and on-site health checks have also been introduced. We also offer a Medicash [health cash plan], which pays for treatments such as massages, reflexology and acupuncture.”

Hamblet–Bowes believes in the importance of fostering a trusting and open culture by creating conversations around mental health and wellbeing. “At Nominet, we introduced Big Chats Little Chats to help encourage meaningful conversations, which really allow employees to engage with each other to better identify any issues, concerns or table new ideas,” she says. “It is also key to think outside the box when it comes to mental health support, perhaps supporting mental health in more subtle ways. It is about recognising team members as whole people, rather than just employees who can switch from work mode to life mode.”