Peer-to-peer trading platform Smarkets has launched a new initiative called tête-à-tête, aimed at helping improve the mental health of its 85 employees.
The initiative, launching today (6 February 2020) to coincide with national Time to Talk Day, will encourage employees to meet in small groups to discuss their mental health and share how they are feeling. This adds to the organisation’s existing schemes, providing access to counselling and meditation sessions; employees are able to find counselling or therapy sessions and Smarkets will reimburse them for 75% of the costs, while meditation sessions are held in the workplace after lunch on a daily basis.
This new tête-à-tête scheme will be available to all 85 employees in the London office, with meetings scheduled on a fortnightly basis. New workers can use the existing counselling benefit after their three-month probation period.
Celine Crawford, chief communications officer at Smarkets, said: “Over the last couple of years, we have sporadically held sessions where employees would meet to chat about their personal lives and emotional state. We found there was a real appetite for more regular sessions and so decided to launch tête-à-tête.
“The 50-minute sessions will be held every two weeks and anyone can join. It’s a time where we share the things that are on our minds or simply listen to each other. If a lot of people turn up on a certain day, we will split into small groups for a more intimate dialogue.
“Ultimately, we spend so much of our lives in the workplace, so as a [business] we believe it’s our responsibility to help look after the mental health of our employees. We have always encouraged our staff to bring their whole self to work; this offers them a safe environment that is explicitly dedicated to sharing the parts of themselves that are harder to bring up in more usual work interactions.
“Now that we have a workforce of 120 people spanning three countries, it would be great to get an even higher number of staff involved in counselling, tête-à-tête, and meditation sessions. We really want to end the misconception that you have to be experiencing problems to talk to someone; therapy and group discussions can be beneficial to everyone.”