TfL has partnered with “mindfulness” app Headspace to give staff a free subscription. Headspace’s guided meditation programmes are meant to help us deal with workplace stress.
It’s a nice gesture, but it rings a little hollow when you consider Occupational Health counselling services have been slashed as part of “Transformation”. Despite frequent articles in Off The Move patting themselves on the back for how enlightened they are about mental health, LU still repeatedly put pressure on workers off sick with stress or other mental health issues to come back before we’re ready, and fails to make adequate adjustments for us when we are at work.
The main drivers of workplace stress are factors for which our bosses are substantially to blame. Cuts and de-staffing means fewer of us are doing more work, with increasingly fatigue-inducing shift patterns. A few sessions with Headspace isn’t going to fix this. Cutting the working week and employing hundreds more staff might help.
We have a grim sense of inevitability that at someone’s case conference in the not-too-distant future, we’ll hear a manager saying “no, I can’t accommodate your request for reduced hours, a seated role, flexible working, or time off work... but have you tried Headspace?”
Rather than trying to mollify us with a free app, why not take real steps to make our workplaces less stressful?