A healthy company story

We’ve all been there.

Feeling down or depressed, anxious or overwhelmed. At least once in your life, you have probably felt overwhelmed by life’s weight or incapable of handling all its demands. Mental health management is a very real part of our human experience, and a very scary one at times.

Our leadership team recently had our annual week-long “Indaba” (a term originating from the Bantu peoples of South Africa, referring to a meeting to discuss a serious topic, or matter of concern.) Yes, we populated spreadsheets, got stuck into brainstorm sessions and reviewed our clients’ footprints, but we also scheduled time to just ‘do life’ together. Really just connecting as a team. We explored the Cambridge waterways, ate at a sublime Sri Lankan restaurant in Soho, and went off-the-grid for a weekend.

We slowed down. To reconnect with life, and ourselves. Refuelling our tanks, so that we had the juice to give back to our families, our team, and our clients.

We also had the privilege of watching the much acclaimed musical  “Dear Evan Hansen” at the Noel Coward Theatre in London. Everybody left in tears, as the show beautifully addressed life and the challenges of living it, and living it well. The story follows Evan Hansen, a nerdy, anxiety-ridden teenage boy selling his soul for the popularity and appreciation he’s spent his entire life craving. And inevitably, his bad decision spirals – until it all erupts with a big social media-amplified bang.

With six Tony Awards, and a Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album, it certainly entertained us, but it also prompted us to once again ask ourselves this question:  “What are we doing to protect and promote our mental health, and that of our team?”

This month focusses on mental illness awareness in South Africa. The global July calendar also acknowledges workaholics day on the 5th, corporate wellness week from the 5th to the 9th, and cheer-up-the-lonely day on the 11th. Among these themes, a mental-awareness focus is apparent, and we are excited to contribute to this important dialogue.

The advertising industry is known for being fast-paced and demanding. Unfortunately, it is also known for abusing employees, often subjecting them to unreasonable deadlines and unhealthy environments.

No thanks. Hard pass.

Because Stories is dedicated to being a voice of integrity and purpose in storytelling.  We’ve carefully shaped our company to be “life-friendly”, by incorporating mental-wellness management from three angles:

#1: Taking care of our team
We believe that work should be a part of a well-lived life, rather than an obstacle to it. As a result, we’ve structured the company, and our systems, to be as accommodating as possible. Everyone performs their tasks and duties at times that make the most sense for them – as long as deadlines are met.

#2: Choosing clients
We believe that a relational client-approach creates better results, and we’re selective when it comes to choosing clients.  If we’re going to spend hours in meetings dissecting and deep-diving into your story, it’s bound to be more fun (and much more effective) if we respect and enjoy each others’ company.

#3: Storytelling with integrity
We believe in telling stories that strike true. Stories can raise awareness, spark conversations, motivate people to take action, and ultimately – change the world. This is why we take it so seriously. If we don’t think what you’re doing is awesome, we simply won’t say it, not for all the money in the world.

Interestingly, we typically find ourselves partnering with social impact clients and purpose-driven businesses asthey align well with our values and passions. We really find joy and fulfilment in the work we do and the people we work with, and we’ve been told that it shows!

Keeping our team motivated, inspired, and sane is one of our top priorities. But, it’s a big task. We’re still learningand constantly evolving the shape and structure of our business, especially when it comes to creating a happy, healthy workplace.

So in the spirit of mental health awareness, join the chorus of voices and let’s structure our companies accordingly. In support of this worthy cause, and all the people affected by it.

Let’s continue taking care of ourselves, our staff, and our clients. Always.

> > Click here for your feel-good song of the day, compliments of Evan Hansen. You’re welcome!