During the pandemic, companies asked their workforce to bring their entire office into their homes. Productivity numbers actually went up, but the home was no longer a safe haven. Working from home, people were always just a room away from opening their laptops and putting in extra hours. Now, as workers return to offices, they bring emotional scars from the last two years and need help.
“You have a generation of workers who are very talented, really skilled technically, and they are demanding that workplaces pay attention to their mental state,” says Sheila Hamilton, CEO of Beyond Well Solutions, which helps companies engage their employees about mental health.
Data Shows “The Great Resignation”
A Harvard Business Review study found that 89% of workers reported decline in their well-being over the past 18 months. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5 million people have left their jobs, with people 30-45 years old leading the way. Younger workers may linger in a job only because of the financial insecurity the pandemic has caused.
“What happened in the last 6-12 months is that workers have really hit a wall, and we’re seeing it in terms of burnout rates,” says Hamilton. “I think people really underestimate the cause of anxiety and depression with that kind of financial stress at the back of your mind consistently. We have taxed our brains to the point that many people are now beginning to report the other side of it.”
Burnout and Health
Burnout is detrimental to your workforce, your leadership team and, therefore, your business.
- 40% of Americans believe they could be suffering from severe anxiety or depression, the numbers are even higher amongst Gen Z and Millennials
- 60% of disability claims are now related to mental health
- 80% of our time-off requests are related to toxic stress
- 90% of CEOs sought out either a coach, a psychologist, or a mental health trainer
Tools to Help Your Workforce
- Focus on mindful working
- Allow your body and mind small breaks through the day
- Turn off, turn down and breath deep
- Beyond Well Solutions partnered with Connected Mind, which offers a sophisticated mental health screening tool which identifies areas of burnout, like anxiety and depression, and provides workers helpful tools, like a mindfulness app
New Communications Tool – Internal Company Podcast
Companies are turning to internal podcasts to connect with their workforce. It provides a more personal and intimate method for reaching employees and takes the pressure off another Zoom meeting. Hamilton believes in the power of audio. “We saw early on, especially for women, the mere fatigue that was happening from having to look at their image on Zoom. It’s terrible, so putting the intimacy of a voice in a short podcast helps workers do what they need to do to feel like they’re more in control at home.”
The bottom line: companies need to make it a priority to take care of the physical and mental health of their workforce. To do so will help them attract and retain the best workers, the same workers who, because of the last two years of uncertainty, are demanding more than just a paycheck and perks.