huru.

In two weeks time, i’ll be hosting a lunch — with the aim of encouraging a group of organisations to do something.

I’ve got about 15 people in a room — all of who have a vested interested in working with freelancers, independent workers, the self-employed, small businesses, contractors, and I’m going to ask a simple question:

“what are you doing to support your independent talent’s mental health?”

In a time where more and more people are moving to become self-employed, or switch away from the traditional ‘9–5’ job, supporting the mental health of the people you work with is not simple.

I wrote back in October 2018 about this — and how the government is doing great work with partners like Mind to tackle challenges of mental health and social isolation within business — by asking employers to step up and support their people — but when over 15% of the UK workforce doesn’t have an employer — who is going to help them?

The issues within the self-employed or indy community are different to those of the standard employee. We don’t have the benefits of sick-days, holiday pay, regular communication with teams, performance reviews, HR support, even contact with other people can be less common — with almost 50% of people saying they felt lonely or isolated — this is a problem which is set to increase in its complexity and impact as more of the UK moves to a different way of working.

The intention is to leave the room with a commitment from each person, to do something: find a small intervention they are willing and able to do within their business to support the emotional wellbeing of their “non-employed” colleagues; do it; share what they’re doing; and then continue to understand how it has positive impact.

We’ll shout about these interventions loudly, with the help of friends, and hopefully, just hopefully, one or two other businesses will pick up on what we’re doing, and do something similar, either copy something already done, or come up with a new intervention — and again, we’ll help them share it with others who want to do similar.

Once we have a small groundswell of pioneering organisations doing something to support the liquid/agile talent base which they rely upon, we’ll look towards defining some larger policy, working with category and industry bodies to codify what works and what should be mandatory…

But for now — just a small act from a business that believes there’s a moral obligation to care about the people you work with — regardless of your legal contractual relationship with them — might be the start of something good.

Keep track of what we’re doing at huru.leapers.co