Mental Health in the Tech Industry

Posted 10 October 2019

The mental health of employees plays a crucial role in the productivity and success of the workplace, and the impact extends across to the wider society.

Inevitably, there exists a level of stress and pressure occurring in most work environments, with studies revealing that one in five Australian adults experience a mental health condition. This adds up to over three million workers suffering from a mental condition every year, posing a heavy burden for the society, for companies, and most importantly, on the individuals.

As the stats show, the strain from mental health is a prevalent agenda in Australia as well as in the wider world, yet it is still a heavily stigmatised topic in our society and organisations today. Despite the severe consequences and pain that it can instigate, there is a lack of understanding and empathy due to the invisible nature of the illness. Strong measures must be taken to ensure that we see a shift in such perceptions, with companies taking steps to initiate this change.

Different industries have different cultures and dynamics; thus, the level of stress and the prevalence of mental illnesses differ across industries accordingly. For example, the tech industry is fast paced with constant change, with an unending list of technological advancements. This makes it hard for people to keep up, and the high demands and strict deadlines tend to increase the stress level of employees. This constant sense of urgency coupled with high workloads and the skill-short market status is leading the tech industry into becoming one of the most stressful sectors to work in.

In a survey we conducted of our candidates, we uncovered that 38% of respondents worked in excess of 9 hours per day, with 9% working in excess of 12 hours a day. 55% of respondents also said their work/life balance was average or lower and 39% said that their workplace does not offer any mental health support.

What we can do

In a skill-short market, it is already difficult to attract and retain top quality talent for your business.  Technology is a significant driving factor of the future of work and is growing exponentially at a speed we haven’t seen before. So, what practical solutions can we implement to tackle these modern challenges? There are two main aspects to the solution: initiatives for prevention and a change of perception.

Fundamentally, companies must invest in their employee’s happiness by creating a work environment where employees can maximise productivity whilst thriving as an individual. Companies that put a focus on building their employee’s happiness and an innovative culture tend to have a much more productive workforce, with a more vibrant work environment. As a means to improve the well-being and morale of their employees, some companies provide a series of perks ranging from nap stations, free cafeterias, video game rooms, pet-friendly office spaces, as well as providing opportunities for employees to give back to the society and feel a sense of achievement for contributing to the wider good. That said, this does not mean that all companies must provide such perks to their employees- the key is that companies must realise that employee happiness and a thriving company environment can act as a catalyst towards company productivity and thus they must recognise the importance in investing in these efforts.

Establishing flexible work environments for employees and ensuring that they maintain a healthy work-life balance is also a key way to boost the efficiency and job satisfaction of individuals. Acknowledging the fact that every worker has different commitments outside of work and providing flexible options to cater for their needs will help employees balance their workload without burning out. Some examples of flexible policies implemented by Modis are ‘work from home’ policies and flexible work-hour arrangements, which allow employees to juggle their family commitments whilst thriving at work.

Equally important, tech companies must make efforts to change the perception that their employees have about mental health and ensure that the positive cultural shift gives people the confidence to seek help. Mental health is reflected as a taboo subject within the workplace, and there are minimal incentives for people to reach out for help due to the perceived lack of tangible solutions. By taking part in relevant campaigns and providing internal opportunities where staff can openly discuss these issues, the office becomes a safe space for employees to conduct open conversations about these topics and learn to grow empathy and understanding towards the issues. Taking part in mental health related campaigns are a great way to kick start this engagement and raise awareness amongst the company. Modis recognises the importance of mental health and takes part in campaigns such as ‘R U OK Day,’ working towards a corporate culture of inclusion and understanding.

Another example of initiatives taken by Modis is the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) program, where colleagues are given the opportunity to volunteer to become an initial point of contact for colleagues who may be experiencing mental health issues. These MHFA volunteers are provided with ongoing support and training through professionals and programs such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Modis will continue to take initiatives to create a positive impact in the organisation and society.

Mental health in the workplace is a significant contributor to employee satisfaction and productivity.  If your workplace is not supporting all your team members to succeed, the effects will be reflected through your organisational culture and will affect your financial results. Is your workplace prioritising the mental wellbeing of employees? Are you giving your employees a chance to reach out for help? Give employees an opportunity to speak out about their current status and opinions on the company’s culture and policies. Reflect on the results and take necessary actions to create a healthy and thriving workplace because after all, your employees are your greatest assets.

1Calculated based on Australia’s population size and participation rate of full-time employees. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2018). Australian demographic statistics. Retrieved from and Trading Economics 'Australia labor force participation rate'. Retrieved from

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