Founded in 2011, Split the Bills is a relatively young, small utility company that makes shared, student bills easy. But their size hasn’t stopped them from being a mighty force for tackling mental health stigma in the workplace.
Split the Bills are proof that small companies can come up with some great practical and creative solutions to improve the mental health of their employees.
According to one staff member at Split the Bills, “most people talk about mental health like they talk about the weather.”
This level of openness is indicative of a cultural shift that many businesses are trying to achieve – so, how did they get to this point?
When Split the Bills signed up to the Time to Change pledge they knew they wanted to give more support to staff who were suffering with mental health problems. They also wanted to normalise conversations around mental health.
To kick start this process, the company ran a mini-health check for employees: a survey which asked staff if they had suffered with mental health problems and if they knew where they could get help in the workplace. This was an important indicator for what the business needed to do next. What followed was a series of strategic changes, including the recruitment of mental health champions, the training of mental health first aiders and the implementation of Wellness Action Plans for all employees.
Alongside these changes, Split the Bills also invested in encouraging culture change through organising fun and informal activities, including a stress-busting ping-pong tournament, a creative stress ball-making workshop and office massages.
They also arranged monthly walk and talk sessions in which staff could make use of the beautiful surroundings of the Peak District. These occasions not only give employees the chance to get some fresh air, but also provided an opportunity to share anything on their mind.
Split the Bills have also made changes to their physical office environment, setting up a quiet space which employees can use to take a breather if they start to feel overwhelmed. The space is comfortable and relaxing, with books focused on mental health and mindfulness, and resources- such as pamphlets from Mind- signposting to further support.
Key to the success of Split the Bills has been maintaining a sense of momentum around mental health. The company is always planning new events based around the Mental Health Calendar because they think that it’s important that the issue never feels stale.
Their progress on tackling mental health stigma in the workplace has not been without challenges; as a small business it can be difficult to find the funding for all the initiatives they want to put in place, but most of the company now recognise the importance of mental health.
The positive culture surrounding mental health at Split the Bills is the result of a combination of small changes which have made Split the Bills an aspirational example for other businesses.