Beatrice Hu
Head of Mexico at Cornershop
Cornershop by Uber
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Expert Contributor

How Does Mental Well-Being Influence the Success of Startups?

By Beatrice Hu | Tue, 03/08/2022 - 15:00

This last year has been highly complicated in every aspect: personal, professional, economic and social. In the beginning, we thought the pandemic crisis would affect only one of these areas, but it turned out to be the opposite: it made them coexist in the same space 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and completely erased the dividing line that previously existed between them.

The pandemic put the whole world to the test, especially startups and companies linked to the digital economy that went through a tumultuous and very uneven process. Some ventures related to activities that were suspended because of the pandemic (travel, in-person events, physical workspaces), struggled to stay afloat, while those related to e-commerce, digital content or solutions for remote work saw accelerated growth.

Whatever their situation, the pandemic also highlighted a common denominator to be addressed by all types of companies: their employees’ health and mental wellness. 

According to an OECD report, prior to the pandemic, depression affected 3 percent of the population in Mexico. The health emergency raised the proportion to 28 percent. As for anxiety, it was estimated that 15 percent of the population experienced high levels before the crisis. The rate rose to 50 percent in less than a year due to the confinement and possible job loss, long working hours, or an overload of work. Mexico now ranks first among OECD countries with the highest levels of anxiety, highlighting the importance of personal well-being in the sector as never before.

​​A Better Future In and Out of the Workspace

The issue of mental health has become an inherent factor in the growth and success of startups. This has prompted many startups to adopt and implement mental health services and has led more and more employers to make this issue a priority to protect the workforce.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) indicates that 40 percent of companies with more than 50 employees have already made changes to their mental health benefits: 31 percent of companies now provide their members with access to a variety of services, such as therapy, telemedicine and new resources, including remote employee assistance programs, the vast majority of which are free of charge.

Delivery and e-commerce platforms, which have experienced quite accelerated growth during the pandemic, have already implemented a variety of initiatives to ensure the safety and mental well-being of their employees. At Cornershop by Uber, for example, we implemented a four-day work week to allow workers to dedicate more time to their families or to themselves.

We also developed programs such as Mi nuevo hogar (My New Home), which offers up to two paid working days for those needing to move house, and Mi bendición (My Blessing), a maternity leave where from the seventh month of pregnancy, women can work remotely, and from the eighth month onward they can work half a day with full pay. In addition to the 84 days of rest granted by law, at Cornershop, we offer two more months. For fathers, we offer 21 days off from the birth of their baby, and we even provide flexibility to start earlier. Likewise, their working day is reduced by one hour until their child is 1 year old.

As a startup that has experienced accelerated growth during this year, we have learned that physical and emotional health favor a sustainable workforce, so the implementation of more humane initiatives is now part of our corporate value proposition, and responds to both the reality and the needs of those of us who work with us every day.

Photo by:   Beatrice Hu