The worst of the pandemic (hopefully) be over, but the so-called “new normal” is certainly not sunshine and rainbows for millions of people. A survey by Lifeworks found that nearly three in four employees report feeling some impact of personal or work-related stress, and 49 percent of employees have noticed that their colleagues appear to be more sensitive to stress now than before than pandemic.
Clearly, employers have an opportunity — and many would say also an obligation — to lean forward and provide meaningful mental health support at a time when their employees need it most. But what strategies and programs should they focus on to deliver the most impact to the greatest number of people?
That answer may have been supplied by a new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), which found that 81 percent of employees plan to look for workplaces that enhance mental health when they seek future job opportunities. The top four supports that they want are:
- flexible work hours (41 percent)
- a workplace culture that respects time off (34 percent)
- employment that provides remote work opportunities (33 percent)
- a four-day work week (31 percent)
“These findings underscore the importance of mental health support in the workplace to workers across all industries,” commented Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD, CEO at APA. “Some of the increased focus on workplace mental health support may have resulted from employers working to meet employees’ needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though these efforts have been helpful, it is important to recognize many workers continue to struggle and need additional supports. Therefore, employers must maintain and, in some cases, expand their mental health service offerings.”
Added Evans: “It’s the responsibility of the employer to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees while at work. There is always more that can be done.”