My weekly 1:1 meetings with my manager (hi Thomas!) aren’t always about the operational aspects of work. They actually more often revolve around how we’re feeling at the moment and getting past certain doubts and challenges: am I handling this correctly? how should I give this person feedback? I feel stuck in this situation, what are your thoughts? Often, one of us would make a joke about how much we could charge as psychotherapists and we’d end the conversation with “that’ll be 90 bucks, thanks”.

We thought “there must be other people here that are asking themselves the exact same questions”. Since hiring a full-time shrink for the company wasn’t possible, Laurène, our Employee Experience Manager, started looking into mental health solutions for the people at Meilisearch. Pierre, one of the founders of Strapi, recommended, and we implemented the solution at the beginning of 2022.

Mental health is just as important as physical health

Leaving aside factors that are out of our control, from pandemics to wars to personal events, the world of work is a handful in itself and can have a major impact on our self-confidence and general mental health.

More specifically, the world of startups can be overwhelming. The median age generally isn’t very high, a lot of managers are fulfilling their roles for the first time, it’s common to quickly gain responsibility over a new scope and wear a lot of different hats at once. It’s intense, motivating, and incredibly interesting, but adapting to constant change requires a lot of energy and can be very unsettling for some of us. Because of that, we try to take our time as much as possible, ask ourselves the right questions, and bring a balance to our work environment.

As a software company, we don’t need to purchase machinery, raw materials or distribution solutions. As a remote-friendly startup, we don’t need huge offices that would probably cost a fortune. What we do need is the skills of the people we work with. Supporting their well-being and providing the best possible working conditions is crucial to providing a great product. Our main investment is the people that are part of Meili.

This translates into several initiatives, such as implementing a 4 day work week, offering a fully paid 3 months leave for all new parents, and, more recently, proposing a mental health solution to all coworkers.

A lot of companies offer gym memberships for their team members to feel physically healthy—why not also encourage mental health? a door to mental health is a web platform that offers team members access to sessions with work coaches and professionally trained therapists (psychotherapy, hypnosis, sophrology, etc). By making use of it, we want to put mental health on the same level as physical health.

This seems like a good solution for us because we wanted to offer therapy and coaching solutions to address targeted topics, thus covering different types of needs. In the several subscription options they offer, we chose to start small (4 sessions per person per year) because we didn’t know if people would be open to trying this out. Our idea is to adapt along the way and offer a larger number of sessions if needed.

When using for the first time, you get an orientation phone call. In it, a trained adviser will ask you questions and assess your situation in order to direct you towards either a coach or a therapist, based on your needs, preferences, and the language you speak. After that, everything can be done through phone, video calls, or in person, depending on your preference.

It’s important to stress that everything is confidential. The only data our HR team has access to is the number of people that have created their account and booked a session—that’s it. The names of the employees and types of sessions that were chosen are never disclosed.

All companies play a part in creating work expectations

We’re very proud of the search engine that we’re building, for a bunch of reasons. One of those reasons is that we’re open source and therefore able to offer our solution for free to developers and companies who need it. Moreover, as a company mostly populated by software engineers, we strongly believe that the collaborative aspect of open source and the diversity it brings makes for powerful and relevant software.

We’re also thrilled about the company we are building, and the freedom we have to shape our teams and their work experience. We are a tech startup: in this sense we evolve in a fundraising ecosystem that allows for companies like ours to be very visible, giving us the power to influence the world of work in a certain way.

We ourselves have been influenced by several companies: we adapted and implemented Buffer’s career framework, we took a lot of ideas out of Alan’s and Payfit’s employee onboarding, and our first equipment offer for team members was influenced by Oyster HR. We are taking initiatives towards employee well-being with the idea that, as we gain more and more visibility, we might influence other companies to take similar actions.

And who knows: on top of revolutionizing search, maybe we’ll end up revolutionizing work?