It is no secret the uncertainty, changes and stress brought on by the pandemic negatively affect one’s mental health. In fact, people with no history of mental health issues are developing serious psychological difficulties for the first time as a result of the lockdown, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (Source: The Guardian).
Sodexo and Harris Interactive conducted a global survey of employees* and found that women, Gen Z and non-managers appear as being slightly more vulnerable and likely to report lower mental wellbeing. Our most recent survey shows an improvement in mental wellbeing since April, but 4 out of 10 US employees with lower mental wellbeing admit they are still not taking any action to improve their mental wellbeing.
Although individuals carry the ultimate responsibility for their own mental health, employees are rightfully expecting help from their employers and widely agree that employers should provide solutions to improve employee mental wellbeing.
This begs the question—how can employers do more to positively impact employee wellbeing?
Of those we surveyed, health and wellness benefits, and food and beverage benefits were among the top 5 most desired benefits.
With limited budgets, few companies are able to invest in multiple programs available to increase employee wellbeing. Employers should, however, consider the high cost unaddressed mental health issues has to employee productivity. According to our research, the vast majority of employees (68%) report that a poorer state of mental wellbeing has a negative impact on their productivity and ability to work effectively. The question may be better considered as “Can you not afford to invest in your employee’s mental health?”
In addition to rewards and specific wellbeing programs, organizations may consider cost-free options like adding mental wellbeing to a manager’s weekly check-in process with team members. Managers can also initiate new team rituals or informal virtual gatherings to increase the sense community and foster support.
Taking these proactive steps to ensure the continual improvement of employee mental wellbeing during lockdown and as employees return to work is essential to a healthy, productive workforce in the future.
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* Data shown on this page is inclusive of US respondents only (608 online interviews representative of US employees collected from June 11th to June 16th 2020)