Plenty has changed in terms of how mental health in the workplace is valued. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) survey shows that around 71 percent of workers believe that their employer is more concerned about employee mental health than they were in the past. Meanwhile, around 81 percent of workers feel that the extent to which future employers value mental health will be an important factor when they seek a future job. Clearly, mental health is something that companies and managers need to take more seriously, by making sure they offer the type of support that workers seek.
Flexible Working Hours Are a Must
In the APA survey, around 41 percent of employees cited flexible working hours as a key mental health support they seek from employers. Flexibility is a sign of respect for the work-life balance. It enables employees to feel more satisfied and valued (not only as a worker, but also as human beings) by their respective organizations. However, flexibility has many indirect benefits as well. For instance, there is a strong correlation between mental wellbeing and job injuries. That is, workers who are stressed out owing to excessively rigid timetables are more likely to be injured. The other side of the coin is that those who have been injured are more likely to encounter mental health problems like major depression or PTSD.
A Workplace Culture that Respects Workers’ Need for Time Off
The survey showed that around 34 percent of employees valued a workplace culture that respected their right to time off. Americans currently take far fewer days off than employees in other nations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average workers with five years’ experience in a company is given 15 days paid vacation, while those with 20 years of experience are given 20 days off. In countries like Austria, governments demand that workers be given more time off. Austrians, for instance, have 25 days of paid annual leave, plus 13 paid public holidays.
An Interest in Remote Work and Shorter Working Weeks
For 33 percent of workers surveyed, the ability to telecommute is key. For another 31 percent, a four-day work week could help them feel supported by their companies. The pandemic served as a testing ground for the viability of telecommuting, and the result for many companies was resounding success. Forbes reports that remote work opportunities will continue to increase in 2023, after 2022 ended with approximately 25 percent of all professional jobs being performed from home. Many companies have found that workers’ productivity does not suffer from more time at home. Meanwhile, these organizations are managing to save on rent, electricity, and other costs associated with in-office work.
The good news for workers in the US is that the vast majority now feel that their mental health is being taken more seriously. Workers are demanding flexible hours, the right to paid time off, and remote worker. They are also keen on four-day weeks, which allow them to work more intensely for part of the week and relax and re-energize during the remaining days.