October 10 marks World Mental Health Day, spotlighting efforts to address and improve all aspects of mental health and well-being. It’s the perfect opportunity to consider how your organization invests in your employees’ mental health – and where you could improve even more.
39% of employees say that their environment at work has negatively affected their mental health in some way. These concerns are compounded by an overall culture of frustration when they try to get support: just 49% say they received a positive response when discussing mental health at work or seeking support. Given this situation, it’s not surprising that 81% of employees say that employers’ support for mental health will be an essential factor in deciding whether to accept (or remain in) a job.
To effectively address these concerns, it’s important to understand the most significant stressors. Research from the American Psychological Association reveals a few key things:
- 71% of workers are worried their pay has not kept up with inflation.
- 60% of workers who are aware of some form of workplace monitoring/tracking say they feel stressed or tense during the workday, and 51% say they are uncomfortable with how it’s used.
- 18% of employees outright describe their workplaces as toxic, and 30% say they have experienced some kind of harassment.
Companies looking to address mental health and well-being must approach this by addressing multiple factors. It’s important to provide tangible benefits (health insurance and competitive pay) and address cultural issues common in tech, like high-stress cultures, complicated or uncertain career development, or DEI concerns that intersect with mental health and the overall employee experience.
Just as the factors affecting mental health are connected, they must also be addressed holistically. The U.S. Surgeon General offers a five-part “Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well‑Being” that connects five interlocking elements (protection from harm; connection and community; work-life harmony; mattering at work; and opportunity for growth) around the central idea of “worker voice and equity.” This reflects the results of several other surveys, which indicate that some of the most significant factors in alleviating mental health stressors at work include flexible and remote work options, respect for time off, clearer ways to address discrimination and toxicity, and improvements in connection and communication at work. For instance, “flexible work hours” was the most commonly chosen support solution when workers were asked their preferences (41%), followed by a workplace culture that respects time off (34%), the ability to work remotely (33%), and a four-day work week (31%). IT and cybersecurity may be particularly well-suited to these efforts since these fields are often friendlier to remote and flexible work than others – although some jobs may require in-person availability and can be balanced with other support sources.
The positive effects of investing in mental health and well-being are becoming clearer to everyone. 71% of employers said they can see positive ROI from their investments in this area – an enormous increase, compared to 23% who said the same in a pre-pandemic survey. This shouldn’t be surprising – employees who are less stressed and have the support they need are much more likely to be satisfied, loyal, engaged, and productive at work.
At Velocity Search Group, we believe that recruiting and retaining top talent requires all-around support for them. This World Mental Health Day, let’s take the time to consider how we can best provide well-rounded support so our employees can continue to develop skills and handle the fast-paced, fast-changing world of tech while keeping their bodies and minds healthy.
By Daniel Midoneck