Mental health and MSPs — it's time to break the silence.

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Working in the MSP industry can be really stressful, even more so when the entire world shuts down and you have to work from home.

A recent McKinsey survey indicates that 3 in 4 employees require mental wellness support and 1 in 4 require advanced forms of treatment. So, if you're in the IT industry, chances are your mental health has already gone for a toss, and the worst part is you don't even realize it.

Well, we brought on Nate Sheen, an MSP thought leader and expert on the SuperPod-the no-filter MSP show to help us help ourselves and our employees better. Read on!

Why should you care?

WHO estimates that mental health problems cost the global economy a whopping trillion dollars per year in employee productivity. When you quantify that metric to individual businesses, you'd be surprised to know how much revenue you're losing out on just by not caring about your mental health. Having said that, it is also important to acknowledge that MSP owners really take the brunt of it and that it could get very lonely at the top. So if you find yourself lashing out at others and stressing out on small things, it might be a good time to reach out to your therapist.

Having suffered from PTSD and depression in the past, Nate talks about how seeking help and empathizing with others made life easier for his MSP.

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Your company lives and dies by how you act mentally, especially when you are a single man MSP. The company performs better when you feel better and it fails to perform when you are not in the right headspace. We fall back to things that make us feel different every time we feel anxious instead of dealing with it, but we've to understand that feeling different doesn't mean feeling better.

Nate Sheen

President, DataCom Technologie

Where do you start?

If you wish to get better at handling mental health, you start by talking about it, and more importantly normalize having the hard conversations. The toughest battles fought are the ones that we know nothing about. The simple truth is, everyone is experiencing something all the time that you have no clue about. So, unless you choose to stay open about your problems, you're not even giving a chance for someone else to relate with what you're going through. Start by working out your peer relationships and build a culture that empathizes with the mental well-being of those around you and witness things fall into place.

Peace of mind. Take it seriously!

More often than not, we're inevitably being forced into circumstances that create unknown mental turbulence. A very important client of yours calls you on a Sunday evening to solve a seemingly unimportant issue and you rush to resolve it. Did you really feel okay doing that? These are exactly the kind of situations that you'd want to avoid getting into if you ever wish to keep your mind healthy. Give the break your mind needs.

Nate quotes a few small hacks that could help you avoid getting into these troubling situations in the first place.

  • Establish and maintain a healthy client relationship where there is mutual understanding right from the start.
  • Learn to say NO. People respect boundaries.
  • Use the RMM to your advantage. Structure it and utilize it to the fullest. Most people barely use tools to their fullest potential.
  • Set up a voice-over IP system for your business contact. Setting up small messages that say "press 1 only if it's an emergency" could be the difference between having a great weekend and feeling frustrated.
  • Charge extra for the after-work hour services you offer.

Are customers that important?

Of course, customers are important. But not all. It's okay to let go of customers who don't relate with your values. While it is true you'll miss out on possible revenue if you pull the plug on clients, you have to understand that you can make more money from existing customers by serving them better. You'd be pleasantly surprised to find out the various opportunities you missed out on while chasing more clients!

Work hard! Play hard!

As cliche as it sounds, there is a reason why companies are starting to let their employees own their work. Flexible working hours, ice-breaker meeting discussions, mental health breaks, team bonding activities have all become a part and parcel of the millennial working experience purely because they help produce better results.

Mental health could be a tricky thing to take control of. But trying to find a great balance between things you want (more revenue, more customers, promotions) and things you need (peace of mind, good night's sleep, personal time) might just turn out to be the best thing that's ever happened to you.

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