Starbucks employees turn to Headspace app to ease COVID stress

More than 68,000 employees are now using the app, the companies said during an Instagram Live video.
By: | May 1, 2020 • 3 min read

More than 68,000 Starbucks employees in the U.S. and Canada are now using Headspace, the daily meditation and mindfulness app, the companies announced Friday during an Instagram Live video.

The coffee giant rolled out the app as a benefit for its employees in January, but the resource has been especially helpful as its workers deal with new stresses from the coronavirus pandemic, said Starbucks regional vice president Camille Hymes.

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“It really cleanses and settles the mind, [especially as] we’ve been dealing with COVID,” she said. “People have worries and fears—and it’s all normal, and we recognize that. And we want to make sure they have an outlet for it.”

Hymes noted that Starbucks leaders discussed adding more mental health resources for employees back in September because it was “so important to break the stigma.” In addition to adding Headspace earlier this year, the company also partnered with provider Lyra Health in April to add mental health sessions for its employees. Starbucks now provides all U.S. employees—and their eligible family members—access to 20 sessions a year with a mental health therapist or coach through Lyra Health, at no cost to the user. Sessions can be in-person or via video-chat.

“It’s amazing to see our leaders rise up to the occasion,” Hymes said.

Headspace co-founder Andy Puddicombe remarked that the rate of Headspace signups from Starbucks employees “was something we haven’t seen before.”

“A big part of that, I know, is as a company you push wellbeing benefits and you try to encourage that in your teams,” he told Hymes during the conversation.

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Carlos Lopez, a Starbucks store manager based in Maryland, said he uses the Headspace app often and he’s noticed a big impact on his daily stress levels.

“I found that guided meditations helped keep me focus and be in the moment,” he said during the Instagram Live conversation. “It’s a really nice way to help myself.”

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.