not always and not for everybody. “So I became disillusioned.

As care professionals, you do not intervene in people’s private lives or reach into their workplaces. “Now, if I see people suffering

emotional illness or stress, I have the power to do something about the social aspects. What I’m doing with Culture Trip could potentially have a lot more of an impact.”

Mental health ethos Naudts’ views on mental health and mental illness sit at the heart of Culture Trip, which aims to pioneer how firms should provide healthy and inclusive workplaces. It is based on a belief that helping

staff take beter care of themselves not only benefits the company but also means they will give back to the communities they live and work in. “We have a duty of care to keep

stress levels to a minimum, although you cannot reduce them entirely, and especially not in a start-up,” he says. “And there’s a level of stress

inherent in working in a city like

London, but people perhaps talk about mental health here more openly and readily.” In a few years, Culture Trip has

expanded rapidly from a handful of employees to more than 200 when it moved to new offices last year. Naudts admits to still having the

psychiatrist’s urge to intervene if he spots signs of anyone suffering in the business, but accepts he is no longer in a position to do so and that scaling his vision of a compassionate business culture is complex. “I’m struggling with how to

make people understand that all that compassion and empathy and understanding is there, but I cannot actually express or extend that in the way they would expect,” he says. Culture Trip’s progressive and

radical polices on sick leave and flexible working are innately more difficult to manage than for physical illness or injury. And such an open approach may have costs, says Naudts, who admits it could be abused, but they are outweighed by the benefits.



Culture Trip offers flexible working hours and allows employees to work from home as much as their line manager is comfortable with and without it getting in the way of hitting goals or teamwork.

A wellbeing and social good portal offers information including mental health and wellbeing services as well as video tutorials for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, while an in-house wellbeing practitioner offers one-to-one and group yoga sessions.

Culture Trip even has a pioneering

policy to recruit staff who have suffered mental health issues. Te identity of the first such employee is unknown to Naudts and colleagues. As well as work being therapeutic

for sufferers, Naudts believes employees who have found ways to cope with mental illness are a potential asset. “On a very simple level, work is a

distraction from your life worries,” he says. “We all need some kind of sense of belonging, some sense of structure to mentally thrive. Life experience makes you a more rounded person and mental health problems accelerate that. “Suffering from anxiety or even

depression, as long as it’s not too severe, is not a reason to be denied the benefits of being part of a workplace. “By excluding people with mild

mental disorders, you make those mild mental disorders worse. As a society, I don’t think we can do that. “I want to take diversity and

inclusion to mean actively recruiting and employing people with common mental health problems. Tere is simply no valid reason not to.”

 Some employees act as ‘mental health champions’, raising awareness and sharing experiences.

An Employee Assistance Programme, provided by Axa, helps employees find guidance on coping strategies.

A diversity and inclusion programme sees events organised to discuss issues such as mental health and cultural representation.

In Mental Health Awareness week in May, external speakers and internal mental health champions joined a panel entitled ‘No Stigma, No Shame’.

The firm offers wellness workshops and webinars to empower employees with information to help them better understand and/ or cope with mental health related challenges.

27 JUNE 2019


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80