Wellbeing: How Mental Health Impacts Everyone

Sophie Theen Head of Talent at 11:FS
5min read

If there is one thing we don’t talk about enough in the start-up world, it’s mental wellbeing. That’s strange, because it’s one of the most crucial things to get right in your company. I used to think that company culture is built on leadership and focus. I also used to believe that negative attitudes at work cannot lead to poor mental health or affect perceptions of health, beliefs, and results.

Well, today is a different day. Armed with the growing awareness of the impact wellbeing can have on employees, businesses and the obvious link between positive workplace culture and productivity, I’m here to bust the myth that every start-up has a cut-throat environment which grinds down its employees.


As a company, we understand that mental wellbeing is a bottom-line issue in every start-up. Some companies look after their employees as a moral and ethical responsibility, with a view to having their staff work endlessly. What these companies don’t understand is that employees who work longer hours aren’t necessarily more productive. The only way employees deliver effectively is if we look after their health, intending for them to be more well-rounded individuals first. So, why is it so important to us to do it differently from everyone else? When 11:FS was created, part of what made us have an immediate impact was caring how each employee felt. What’s good for our employees is good for us too. This is who we are, a company that cares about its staff. Every few months we ask our employees if they felt that their leadership cared about health and well-being, and we receive positive feedback across the board.

Supportive culture, low productivity loss

I’m talking about looking after the mental health of our employees in a meaningful way, not organising a yoga trip after a long, hectic 12-week sprint for a big project. We recognise that it is vital to address mental health support at work for all employees, regardless of pre-existing conditions. We want 11:FS to remain a workplace where everyone can thrive. This has been maintained thanks to our managers responding to employee-reported anxieties and stress at work. By creating an atmosphere that buffers against negative experiences in a start-up, we’ve also enabled our employees to bring out their best strengths. We created a guild of skills that matches skill gaps between our designers from disparate projects. It allowed them to create their own community within the company and improve themselves through co-learning.

Our Wellbeing Programme

I’d like to think that there’s also a very clear relationship between culture and investment in people. At the start of the month each employee is asked to vote for an activity they’d like the team to participate in. The responses vary from picnics to skydiving, so some are more easily doable than others, but who knows; we might have a company skydiving excursion at some point in the future! While good mental health at work and responsive management go hand in hand, high levels of mental well-being also creates a more productive workforce. After a football match organised by the employee-created @11Sportsball, employees of that group perceived themselves to be healthier. In most cases, the healthier employees are, the more productive they become. After an escape room trip to Adventox and Tough Mudder, all those who took part enjoyed themselves and gave positive feedback. That’s why as a hardcore scaling-up company, we focus on bringing employees together in an active way. It isn’t as easy to achieve as it sounds, but it’s worth it to know that everyone had a good time and it means work is a positive place for them to be. Our Wellbeing Programme was a simple decision. It’s one of the many ways we’ve done right by our employees by helping them be active and healthy in a supportive environment. If you want to get onboard with a company that values your mental wellbeing and wants you to succeed then head on over to the Careers section and apply now.