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Discussion on: What can tech employers do to support your mental health?

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thejessleigh profile image
jess unrein

In general, flexible work from home policy when you're not feeling well is key. Whether that illness is physical or mental shouldn't matter. Management should not require you to disclose it, and where possible, peers should move away from a cultural norm of talking about why they're staying home.

I wish the industry as a whole would move away from open offices. They're the absolute worst for my mental health, but there's seemingly no getting around them. Especially early in your career.

Lastly, trans inclusive and mental health inclusive healthcare coverage are key. Whether or not you're affected by these issues, both management and individual contributors can make a difference in their companies by advocating for missing coverage.

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scottishross profile image
Ross Henderson

I agree. If I were able to work from home when I wasn't feeling up to dealing with the social presence of being at the office I'd be a lot more productive. They've given me a laptop and mobile phone so I can work and be contacted from anywhere... But don't let me do it. It baffles me.

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kvrag profile image
Kristina Vragovic

Recently, a nasty cold went around my office and people were staying home a lot. I also needed a day off, but I didn't have the cold -- so I made a point of saying I was taking a "mental health day" and would not be online or responding to messages that day. I wanted people to know that the reason I was staying home was not physical, but that it was just as valid. When I returned to work, I saw that someone had @'d me on Slack and another person interceded to let them know that I wasn't online that day -- standing up for me, which was great.

On the one hand, I totally agree with you about moving "away from a cultural norm of talking about why they're staying home." On the other hand, I wonder if there isn't an opportunity to teach people that there are more than just physical reasons for taking a day off, that are just as urgent/important. What do you think?

P.S. 100% agree about open offices. Privacy is important!

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thejessleigh profile image
jess unrein

Ooh, that's a good point. I definitely want to work to destigmatize mental and other invisible illnesses, but at least in the United States it's actually illegal to require disclosure of health issues under the ADA, but people sometimes don't realize that or follow it. I think it definitely depends on how supportive your office is, and what message you want to send. I think both are valid choices.