Wellbeing in the Workplace: Mental Health Resources on the Rise
The pandemic exacerbated the need for mental health services and illuminated the awareness of mental health issues. Employers, feeling the brunt of the Great Resignation and widespread employee burnout, took note, and many are making changes. Let’s look at some of the rising solutions to promote employee mental health and wellbeing.
The importance of mental health has come into sharp focus. The unprecedented pressures of the health crisis have heightened stress levels, ignited widespread burnout, and magnified the challenges of the “Great Resignation,” leading to an intensified need for mental health resources. As employers navigate this new reality, they increasingly recognize their role in promoting employee wellbeing. Let’s delve into this pressing issue to uncover recent measures and evaluate their potential impact on the mental health landscape.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
EAPs have long been the doorway for employees to resolve personal problems that may adversely affect their performance at work, such as stress, burnout, and other mental health concerns. However, the recent emphasis on mental wellbeing in the workplace has shifted the scope and delivery of EAP services.
Recent trends and changes included extending services and enriching mental health support with more sessions and specialized support for issues like substance abuse or financial stress, adding wellness and preventative care programs like mindfulness and stress management, and increasing support for the challenges faced by remote workers. Employers are also doing more to promote their EAP benefits and measure the impact of these programs.
Making Mental Health a Company Priority
Yes, some companies have elevated mental health to the KPI radar. In a Forbes article, co-founder of a software development company David Palwan said that the company is signaling that wellbeing is taken seriously, going so far as establishing mental health KPIs, “If I don’t meditate 7 X per week, it carries the same weight as not meeting my sales goal.”
Meanwhile, at LifeLabs Learning, co-CEO Tania Luna said, “Be Kind to Your Mind” is one of the leadership training company’s core values. That translates into an approach extending the expected response time to emails and setting boundaries around work hours.
Other companies are experimenting with changes, including outdoor meetings, companywide “wellness” or mental health days off, or the ability to take leave for mental health purposes or when a break is needed. Others are adding extra days for family leave and allowing employees to work more flexibly.
Virtual Access to Mental Health Services
While telehealth had a moment during COVID-19, the American Psychological Association recently reported that the use of online services for the delivery of mental health services is here to stay. Employers recognize that the convenience, flexibility, and accessibility of teletherapy make it an effective tool for employees and their family members. A 2022 survey by Willis Towers Watson found that employers expected mental health services to be the most frequently offered virtual care service in 2023. Large insurers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Aetna, and Cigna, have been expanding their telehealth offerings, including mental health services, in response to the increased demand.
Accounting firm PwC set some initiatives to shorten meetings and to encourage employees to black out blocks of time on their calendar as “non-bookable.” This time could be used for focused work or to take time off without repercussion. PwC also implemented a $250 bonus to incentivize employees to use 40 consecutive hours of vacation to help people prioritize their health.
More to Come
From comprehensive Employee Assistance Programs to mental health days and online counseling services, innovative solutions are emerging to help address these issues. It suggests a new era of workplace mental health awareness; will these initiatives be effective steppingstones to bridge the gap between mental health issues and accessible resources? Or are there other necessary strides ahead? We’d love to connect with you and hear your thoughts on this issue.
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