Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace

Work can be stressful — looming deadlines, tasks gone wrong, and a never-ending to-do list make it sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. While it may be tempting to power through, the truth is that when our minds are not at their best, neither is our work. Stress and poor mental health can lead to missed deadlines, low-quality work, and a more challenging workplace environment for everyone.

A 2022 survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association, found that more than 27% of U.S. adults have such high levels of stress that they feel unable to function. A recent Gallup study found that 12% of employees call in sick due to work-related stress, and Mental Health in America reported in 2022 that 81% of workers report that workplace stress affects their health. 

With all of this data showing how mental health and the workplace are interconnected, one having an impact on the other and vice versa, taking care of your team’s mental well-being is critical to being a good employer and building a successful business. 

The Shift to Providing Workplace Mental Health Resources

With mental health becoming a more prominent topic worldwide, companies are taking note and incorporating mental health support into their employee benefits packages. Some of these initiatives include providing comprehensive mental health coverage in insurance plans, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), and strategies to reduce workplace stress and foster a better work-life balance. 

At Answer Midwest, we believe that a well-supported team is happier and more successful both personally and professionally. Our company offers several programs to enhance our team members’ well-being. Just as we want our team to foster a supportive environment for our clients, we also want to demonstrate to them our commitment to a health-conscious work environment.

How Our Employee Care Service Program Works

A person’s well-being goes beyond the physical; it also includes mental and emotional health. Answer Midwest’s commitment to create an uplifting, supportive company culture where our team members feel heard and are excited to come to work was reinforced when we partnered with Marketplace Chaplains in 2023. 

As part of our Employee Care Service Program, Marketplace Chaplains is offered at no cost to our team, and this service connects our team with a Chaplain’s listening ear 24/7. The program is tailored for privacy and personalization, with Chaplains contacting employees monthly via their preferred communication method just to check in. The Chaplains offer a compassionate ear, guiding team members to further resources, such as counseling, videos, or educational materials. Notably, the option to pray is also available for team members who wish to share that experience with someone. 

A Valued Service for Everyone

The Marketplace Chaplains are there for our team members during their difficult times. This program, available to all team members, has strengthened our company culture and ensured that each individual feels genuinely supported. One of our team members, Lynn, shared about her positive experience with Marketplace Chaplains. 

With a lot going on in her life, Lynn values being able to reach out to someone who isn’t in the thick of it, just to have someone to comfort her and listen when she’s having “one of those days.” Lynn connected with Chaplain Amanda, who schedules specific times to speak with Lynn and also reaches out between meetings to check in on her and her needs. Amanda even overnighted Lynn some pamphlets after Lynn mentioned she wanted to work on worrying about things outside of her control. 

“She is a Godsend to me, and I so value this service,” Lynn says. “This program has been a blessing for me while going through the turmoil in my life.” 

Supportive Work Environments Make for Positive Team Spirit

The Marketplace Chaplains’ around-the-clock services underscore our commitment to our employees’ comprehensive support, ensuring they feel valued and successful in every aspect of their lives. We continue to be dedicated to maintaining a supportive environment where every team member has the resources and emotional outlets they need to thrive and experience professional and personal growth.

If you’re interested in joining an organization that cares about YOU and not just the work you do, come work with Answer Midwest!  



Why Team Appreciation Matters in Customer Service

While businesses are increasingly driven by technology and automation, there are still quite a few industries that rely heavily on ‘person-to-person’ interaction and communication. Sometimes, these roles are a thankless position. It can feel like you are just a cog in a machine, when in fact, customer service representatives are the heart and soul of any organization.

To balance this delicate give-and-take in the customer service business, companies need a strong recognition program to show their team the appreciation they deserve. Team members are not just assets to be managed, but rather individuals with lives, aspirations, and challenges outside of work. 

At Answer Midwest, we recognize the importance of supporting our team’s professional and personal well-being. It’s why we go beyond the standard employee benefits and invest in programs that contribute to our team members’ overall well-being — in and outside of the office. 

Provide A Sense of Purpose

In an era where social media often glorifies grand gestures and life-altering contributions, it’s easy to feel that job satisfaction is directly tied to saving lives or making headlines. However, the reality is far more nuanced. Sometimes, the world truly needs a friendly voice on the other end of the line — a simple yet profound act that can turn someone’s day around.

Many, when needing to call a customer service representative, brace themselves for a less-than-pleasant interaction. However, because kindness is a virtue instilled into our company, helping others is not just a checkmark on the to-do list. It’s a way of life — Answer Midwest President Jen Schulz reiterates daily the Golden Rule: to treat others how you would want to be treated. The numerous compliments and gratitude shared with the team from callers they’ve helped gives their work meaning and provides our team with a sense of purpose. 

Invest in Your Team’s Well-being

Today’s fast-paced work environment that puts the focus on achieving high productivity and bottom-line results can cause employee well-being to take a backseat. At Answer Midwest, we believe well-supported employees are happier both personally and professionally, which is why we’ve implemented several programs to enhance our team members’ well-being:

Marketplace Chaplains

Well-being goes beyond the physical; it also includes mental health. We have a commitment to our team members to create an uplifting and supportive company culture, which is why we partnered with Marketplace Chaplains in 2023. This service connects our team with the listening ear of a neutral third-party to support their emotional wellness. This Employee Care Service program comes at no additional cost to our team, and they have 24/7 access to talk with a Chaplain. 

SmartDollar Program 

Financial stress is a significant concern for many Americans, which can pose a risk to both personal well-being and job performance. Our SmartDollar program provides the resources and coaching needed to make informed financial decisions. Through the program, our team gains access to comprehensive financial management tools, including recorded videos and podcasts, to help them achieve their financial goals. In 2023, Answer Midwest added one-on-one personal financial coaching, which would typically cost $100 to $300 per hour completely free of charge, to give our team members additional support to achieve financial freedom.

Create Trust

Trust is not just a buzzword at Answer Midwest; it’s a cornerstone of our organizational culture. We firmly believe that caring for our team members creates a ripple effect, empowering our team members to take exceptional care of our clients and callers. In essence, it’s people taking care of people, and that’s the kind of culture we strive to cultivate.

It’s easy to talk about culture and values, but we believe in showing, not just telling. A prime example of this commitment is our recent decision to increase pay for our team. It wasn’t just about the increase itself, but also the message that accompanied the increase. We reiterated that when making business decisions we take into account the impact it will have on each of them and this particular business decision was a tangible way to give back to our team and better support them in their lives.

By doing what we say we’re going to do, we’re not just building trust but fortifying it. We’re sending a clear message to our team: “We’ve got your back.” We’re proud to have created a culture where trust is not just a value but a lived experience, creating a solid foundation for team satisfaction and business success.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

At Answer Midwest, team appreciation is not an annual event or a box to be checked; it’s a continuous, daily effort that permeates every interaction and decision we make. We are committed to providing a holistic support system for our team members — after all, a well-supported team is the foundation of a successful business

Looking to become a member of the Answer Midwest team? Reach out today to apply to one of our open positions.

Answer Midwest: Who We Are

How does Answer Midwest generate the service and culture that defines us today? 

For us, our work starts with the backbone of Answer Midwest: our team. They are the ones who keep the day-to-day running, and we ensure our business supports them back. Whether it’s creating an environment that nurtures opportunity or generating a culture that regularly expresses gratitude and trust, we’re so proud of our family-like business community!

Leading with compassion – Value that flows from the top down

Building a culture where gestures of appreciation and trust are a daily occurrence doesn’t appear out of just anywhere. It’s a product of bringing the right people together and building a sense of family-like inclusion and positivity — starting with our leaders. 

Our leadership team works hard to ensure our team feels heard and valued. “I never worked for a company like this in my life,” says Taylor S., an Answer Midwest training manager. “With Answer Midwest, my quality of life has vastly improved.”

Through thoughtful gestures, like rewarding work successes with awards and incentives, and sending handwritten cards to team members during exciting and tough moments, we show our appreciation in many ways. 

Our leadership team also places high value on mentoring and providing support for our team to expand. The value the leadership team instills in Answer Midwest employees also transfers into how our team approaches our clients’ needs: with empathy, patience, and trust.

Building relationships with our clients – Why we love what we do

One of our team’s favorite aspects of working at Answer Midwest is helping another person every time we answer the phone. Whether it’s a person who’s upset over a flooded basement or someone needing help finding business information, our team shares our core values of positivity, empathy, and trust at each touchpoint.

“Every call is an opportunity to help somebody with something that’s important to them,” says Patti G., an Answer Midwest dispatcher. For our team, being able to feel good about the bigger picture of what their work means is an integral part of our team members’ approaches and satisfaction with work. 

Although our work is based on assisting others, our culture is built around supporting each other. Team members receive positive feedback for their efforts as well as offline resources to aid with the weight that can come from some of our clients’ calls. 

The Answer Midwest team’s efforts and strong customer service have earned us high accolades with the St. Louis Small Business Monthly: Best in Reliability and Family Business awards and the ATSI Award of Excellence for the past 22 years. 

Encouraging growth opportunities – Ensuring our employees’ future success

A family makes the effort to not only guide its members but also provide the tools they need to continue their positive, personal growth. The same is true for how Answer Midwest works alongside our team members to promote personal and professional success. 

Each team member can recount how fair compensation, incentives, recognition, personal fulfillment, and motivation combine to give them the push to take on new responsibilities, try new things, and be creative.

According to Luna P., one of our main dispatchers: “Answer Midwest helps you get where you want to go. I went from being at an all-time financial low point to now owning my own home.”

Find your home

If you’re looking for a place where you can feel valued, personally fulfilled, and have a sense of positive progression in life, come join our Answer Midwest team! With advancement opportunities, monetary incentives, a supportive workplace, and more, our team and our clients experience our family-like culture. 

Learn more about our award-winning team by subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Helping Team Members Achieve Financial Freedom

Supporting employees means being there for all of life’s moments — big and small. Though showing appreciation in the little ways is important, it is also important to be there for employees when they truly need support and help to guide them through life’s largest obstacles. 

At Answer Midwest, we do not just want our team to succeed at their jobs, but also in their lives outside of work. Over 70% of Americans report that financial stability is a major concern in their lives, with stress from financial concerns posing a risk not just to job performance but also to personal well-being. We are always looking to help our team in new ways, including this month’s featured resource: the SmartDollar Program.

The SmartDollar Program

Knowing how to manage money is not an innate skill for most people, and good money management examples and learning opportunities can be hard to come by. Jen Schulz, President of Answer Midwest, knows from experience how challenging financial wellness can be. Nearly 20 years ago, she and her husband, James, took Ramsey Solutions’ “Financial Peace University” course, originally intending to apply its lessons to just their personal finances. Gradually, Jen saw how she could apply those lessons to business as well and how her team could also benefit from these tools. 

SmartDollar is a set of financial management tools specifically designed for businesses to offer to employees. Created by the same company behind “Financial Peace University”, it provides financial coaching to employees to help them achieve their goals. 

The Employee Experience

Since we introduced the SmartDollar program to Answer Midwest, many of our team have taken advantage of the resources available. One such person is Holly P.,  who participated in the SmartDollar program in pursuit of her ultimate goal of owning a home. 

Holly has been with Answer Midwest for nearly seven years and found herself struggling to create a household budget after she and her husband decided they wanted to become homeowners. Holly was introduced to the SmartDollar program through Answer Midwest and began taking advantage of the learning resources available. 

Using strategies discussed in the recorded videos, podcasts, and other services, Holly’s family started taking steps in the right direction. By saving money, reducing debt, and raising her credit score, Holly and her husband were eventually approved for the purchase of their first home. In the end, Holly says, “Had it not been for the tools and resources provided by SmartDollar, we would not have been able to make the changes needed to complete our biggest goal!”

Discovering New Resources

The Answer Midwest team wants to make sure our employees thrive in every part of their lives, and we are happy to provide resources to help them achieve personal financial goals like owning a home and living debt free.

In January, we were thrilled to add one-on-one financial coaching to our program, giving participants free access to a money mentor who can answer financial questions. This personalized guidance allows employees to make well-informed decisions and navigate through the financial tools available to them with ease. 

We are continuing to expand our existing programs and look for new ways to provide support to our team. With SmartDollar, financial coaching, and our other employee programs, we hope to continue to strengthen the amazingly positive and optimistic culture here at Answer Midwest. 

Want to meet your financial goals?

Come join the Answer Midwest team! With competitive pay, growth opportunities, and financial wellness resources, you will be put on the path to success. Apply today! 

3 Ways to Show Your Associates Appreciation

Now more than ever, people are searching for meaning and camaraderie from their workplaces. Companies that neglect to appreciate their team members can experience a loss of productivity, morale, and talent. By its very nature, a supportive, positive culture leads to increased peer-to-peer recognition, happiness, retention, engagement, and more!

As the Answer Midwest team knows, showing appreciation doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be reserved only for March 3’s official Associate Appreciation Day! We would like to share some of the things we do throughout the year to make our associates feel valued. We hope these spark ideas to help you show gratitude to your team members!

       1. Build Camaraderie

Nurturing peer-to-peer camaraderie is a great way to increase trust and collaboration among team members. Holding team celebrations and themed fun days are a couple ways Answer Midwest encourages our associates to come together and form friendships. Here are some highlights from the past year that show how our team celebrates each other’s successes, creativity, and unique personalities!


Our yearly Christmas party gave our team a chance to get into the holiday spirit and celebrate with each other.


Gathering for our first in-person team meeting since the pandemic brought everyone together to catch up, laugh, and be recognized!


Team members showed off their crocs and enjoyed some delicious crock pot food on Croc Day! 

Team members let their creativity (and smiles) shine with a dazzling array of Valentine’s Day boxes during our annual competition!

Team members let their creativity (and smiles) shine with a dazzling array of Valentine’s Day boxes during our annual competition!

      2. Give back

When a team takes time to help their community, they gain a greater sense of service and purpose by sharing their talents. Holding community service events at work throughout the year can be as simple as collecting food or clothing donations during the holidays. 

This past year, Answer Midwest shared our time with our community by holding a Reverse Advent Calendar donation drive. This event brought us closer together as we gave back to our community!

      3. Personalize praise

Celebrating individual team members’ contributions, successes, and roles within the company in a personalized way helps them feel recognized and appreciated. It also gives them the confidence and opportunity to grow!

For example, each month Answer Midwest highlights one of our team members on LinkedIn and Facebook. We also recognize our team in our newsletters and with letters of appreciation, in addition to rewarding them with compliment bonuses. Create opportunities for your team to applaud each other, like an internal shout-out board, to create a nurturing culture.


Holly was recently recognized when a new client was referred to Answer Midwest thanks to her outstanding service.

Luna receives a compliment bonus from President Jen during a team meeting.

Year-long associate appreciation is crucial to building an environment that retains and satisfies its workforce, no matter your industry. A culture built on nurturing its team members also goes beyond the walls of the business to help the community and other businesses. We hope our examples of how we recognize and engage with our team have inspired you to integrate community service, personalized praise, and building a culture of camaraderie into your business!

Are you looking to make the Answer Midwest team a part of your team through our telecommunication services? Contact us today to experience our culture and expertise firsthand!

How To Show Gratitude All Year Long

Researchers at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed what we at Answer Midwest have known all along: call center employees, when recognized by management, are 50% more effective than those who work in a negative work environment. 

We don’t need data to tell us that recognizing and supporting our team members is the right thing to do — after all, we always operate on the golden rule. Here are a couple of ways we recognize our employees year-round. 

      1. Recognizing the individual

Positive vibes start at the individual level. We know our people are the most important part of our company, and we try to recognize them at every opportunity. We take the time to send our employees personalized thank-you notes when they go above and beyond, so all our team members know their hard work is appreciated.

We’re proud of each and every team member, so we go to great lengths to spotlight them on our Facebook and LinkedIn and elsewhere. One of our recent spotlights was for one of our customer service representatives, Pam, who turned the positivity back at us: “When I get to go to the office, it feels like coming home. I love my colleagues and I love my managers — anyone who joins is immediately a part of the family!” 

      2. Appreciating the team

It takes a village to run a successful business, and so recognizing our employees as a whole is just as important as recognizing them individually. With dedicated team appreciation events and holiday parties, our team members are able to give thanks in each other’s company. 

Take a look at the whole team’s joy in the pictures from our last holiday party — the first one we were able to hold after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted! 

      3. Giving incentives and bonuses

Last but not least, we know it’s important to recognize employees for their hard work by helping them advance in their careers. There are many advancement paths with rapid promotion opportunities available at Answer Midwest. We also award bonuses for each in-depth compliment given to our team members — and since our team is so great, regularly, we hand out thousands of dollars at staff meetings! The bonus for us is seeing our team’s hard work get recognized by organizations like the Association of TeleServices International and St. Louis Small Business Monthly. 

Recently, we asked some of our Answer Midwest team members to share what they were thankful for, with answers ranging from family to opportunities to jobs. With another great year nearly behind us, we’re thankful for all our team!

4 ways Answer Midwest supports our team’s personal growth

Self-improvement is more than setting one-time goals to achieve. It’s about the continuous learning goals one sets for themselves! And in today’s workplaces, self-improvement and growth are top-of-mind for many. 

A 2022 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that employees’ top motivations to learn are connected to their careers. People are looking to stay up to date in their field and have learning opportunities tailored to their specific interests and career goals. 

With that said, our goal is to continue doing what we do best: fostering a company culture that encourages growth and supports our team to be the best versions of themselves every day. 

Here are four ways we support our team’s personal growth: 

  1. Offer internal opportunities for growth. Providing a healthy work environment is only one factor in delivering great results in a 24/7 business. To encourage our team to grow alongside our business, we extend opportunities for our team members to be rewarded for their hard work with great benefits and competitive wages.

    On top of that, we offer rapid advancement opportunities, insurance options, a company-matching retirement plan, and more because we want our team members to strive for excellence in their careers and future.
  2. Strengthen our company culture. Respect and appreciation are of utmost importance to our business. We operate on the golden rule — treat others as you would want to be treated. Luna P., one of our main dispatchers, says, “Everyone makes sure you feel good going to work. And if there’s something that makes you feel hesitant, the team is there to talk you through it.”

    With relationships built on trust and empathy, our team members can find a support system within the company and one another.
  3. Provide flexible time off. We understand everyone has a life and commitments outside of work, which is why we offer a wide range of schedules that meet both our teams’ and our clients’ needs. At Answer Midwest, our teams are able to work from home, and we also allow team members to trade shifts when a need arises. We’ve found being accommodating makes everyone feel more positively about their work-life balance.
  4. Support our team members’ hobbies. Being a 24-hour business means our teams work around the clock to provide award-winning service to our clients. Their dedication is what makes it all happen, so we make sure to celebrate successes big and small — in and outside of the workplace — with team spotlights and wins in our monthly newsletter and on our Facebook and LinkedIn. 

All in all, Answer Midwest strives to create a healthy foundation for everyone to reach their goals, pursue endeavors outside their comfort zone, and continually expand their knowledge of the world.

Answer Midwest’s Unique Business Model Credited with Helping Win Three Coveted Awards

Our amazing team has been busy as ever this year, and their hard work, dedication, and prompt and personalized support that we aim to provide every day haven’t gone unnoticed – by our leadership team, clients, colleagues, friends, and fans!

ATSI Award of Excellence

We are honored to once again have earned the Association of TeleServices International’s (ATSI) Award of Excellence. This year marks the 21st year that Answer Midwest has been recognized with this exclusive award that evaluates providers of telecommunications and call center services across North America and the UK for response time, courteousness of rep, accuracy of call, knowledge of account, and overall impression of call. 

We are so proud that our team was recognized for their pleasant disposition and professionalism to our clients (and their customers) — no matter the situation. 

St. Louis Small Business Monthly – Best in Reliability and Family Business Award

We also were recently awarded two recognitions from St. Louis Small Business Monthly, being named a 2022 Best in Reliability winner and receiving their Family Business Award. To have our small but mighty business be recognized as a top family-owned business and for our commitment to being a reliable partner to our clients is such a privilege. 

We are so thankful for every member of our team for all they do to continuously demonstrate the proven quality service that they provide daily to our customers, but more so, for who they are as individuals. At Answer Midwest, our people are our most important asset, and we truly feel so fortunate to have them not only on our team but also as part of our family. Thank you to each of you … you should be so proud of the humans you are – we certainly are!

The secret to creating a successful 24-hour business


All businesses have needs. But sometimes, those needs extend to all hours of the day and night in the name of customer service. This is where our team at Answer Midwest shines. Although it no doubt gets tough with a team that runs 24/7, we also know it makes an incredible difference for our clients every single day.

As a truly full-time answering service, Answer Midwest has dozens of team members working hard to keep the lines of communication open between our clients and their customers. It’s a busy and sometimes stressful job, but we know our staff is our greatest asset. 

Our approach to customer and employee satisfaction is all about building relationships. Over the past 32 years, Answer Midwest has grown leaps and bounds, and we pride ourselves on fostering a healthy, happy workplace. Since we’re available and on-call all day, every day, our team must have that needed energy our clients require of us to provide to their customers.

As the saying goes, success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. We’ve worked hard to cultivate a culture that is good for our clients and our staff. Learn more about the lessons we’ve learned that have helped us to create, build, and sustain the successful 24-hour business we are today. 

  1. Show your appreciation — and show it often.
    One of the top reasons people leave a company is because they feel undervalued. If you don’t take care of your staff by recognizing their needs and making accommodations that are mutually advantageous to their lives and the company, you’re more likely to run into trouble.To show our appreciation at Answer Midwest, we provide flexible in-office and work-from-home capabilities, incentive programs to boost productivity, employee assistance programs, wellness resources for mental and physical health, and more.
  2. Celebrate the wins!
    We don’t just provide 24-hour service for our clients. At Answer Midwest, we’re there for each other 24/7, cheering each other’s wins and consoling the losses. Caring for people is at the core of who we are. Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate our team’s accomplishments both inside and outside of the workplace:

    • Honoring each other’s dedication and achievements.
    • Celebrate personal team member milestones and recognize the importance these moments have in their lives. At Answer Midwest, every team member is unique — and our leadership team ensures they are valued and seen!
    • Create a caring environment. We know when our team members feel they are in good hands and confident in their training, they can provide the highest level of quality client service. A win-win! 
  3. Provide competitive compensation.
    We hinted at this earlier, but it takes more than just a positive work culture to retain talent. A recent survey from Pew Research Center stated that low pay and insufficient benefits were among the top reasons people left their jobs in 2021 amid the Great Resignation. While we strive to provide strong wages and benefits, we understand the importance of advancement opportunities, 1:1 mentoring and encouragement, and support for both personal and professional growth.

By keeping our team top of mind each step of the way as we grow, we know we can’t fail. We look forward to celebrating many more team successes, milestones, and opportunities as we move into the future together. 

Contact Answer Midwest today to find out how we can partner with your team to help your business thrive and find success! 




Meet the Answer Midwest Team: Susan H.

At Answer Midwest, our team is so much more than employees to us; they are the very heart of our organization. We’re celebrating them both collectively and as individuals not just on Employee Appreciation Day, March 4, 2022, but also throughout the whole year. We know you’ll enjoy meeting and learning about some of the individuals, like Customer Service and Billing Manager Susan H., who make the Answer Midwest Team thrive every single day.

Introducing: Susan H.

Susan, who has worked for Answer Midwest for 16 years, tells us that Tennesee is her favorite place to visit because it’s green, lush, “warmer than here, and close to home.” She dreams of going someplace tropical for a long holiday and would love to go paragliding over the treetops someday. As a matter of fact, she mentioned that looking at tropical pictures is one of her favorite ways to relax.

In her free time, she likes to watch Married at First Sight or the film You’ve Got Mail, and she enjoys listening to Christian music (and also funk). She gets her exercise in during aerobics classes or by working outside and loves watching animal videos for fun. Susan loves fried chicken and hopes to drive a racecar “like a Bahja race, but not as long.”

Susan is an important part of our team, and we’re fortunate to know her. Her unique experience, skills, and talents help create the positive culture at Answer Midwest that continues to attract more wonderful employees like her. We’re so grateful for the work our team does to create an atmosphere of support and professionalism. We appreciate them every day and know that you do, too.