- It’s no secret that work can cause a whole lot of stress and anxiety for employees, which wreak havoc on their mental health.
- That said, placing a focus on employee wellbeing is not only important for those employees, but the businesses themselves.
- Companies are starting to come to this realization and have subsequently started prioritizing employee wellbeing, introducing different tools like wellness coaches and virtual therapy sessions to sustain their wellbeing.
- Greater efforts are still being made to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees all across the country, as employers realize the importance of counseling services.
*This piece was written by Maddie Davis, a cofounder/editor at Enlightened-Digital.*
For many, the dialogue on mental health in the American workplace began with a single tweet. Madalyn Parker, a web developer from Ann Arbor, Michigan, posted to the social media platform an email exchange with the CEO of her company. In it, she states her need to take the day off to focus on her mental health—but the positive response from her boss has made major headlines all over the world.
While Parker’s boss has been praised for his response to a struggling employee (and for his subsequent statement on mental health awareness at work), the tweet can be viewed merely as the catalyst for a larger conversation that needs to be held on how companies should be prioritizing the emotional wellness of their employees.
The Real Cost of Workplace Stress
High-pressure work environments are hotbeds for stress and anxiety that contribute negatively to mental health. Tech startups, in particular, are notorious for this. In a recent survey of over 11,000 tech employees conducted by the messaging board app Blind, 57 percent of that sample set reported significant feelings of stress and burnout as a result of their jobs.
Placing a focus on employee wellbeing can achieve more for an organization than just good press. It’s been shown to have a real-world impact on a company’s bottom line. Experts suggest that stress and anxiety in particular cost companies $30 billion in lost work days each year. Additionally, other costs that often go overlooked are rates of attrition as a result of voluntary turnover. Not only are organizations spending resources trying to replace their talent, but they are also losing out on valuable institutional knowledge that is even harder to replace.
Prioritizing Employees’ Mental Health
So, how are companies making their employees a priority? In part, through opening up a broader conversation across function areas and in the media, but in recent years, there’s been a collective focus on developing different tools and processes to address the issue. Everything from hiring corporate wellness coaches, to virtual therapy sessions, to chatbots, industry leaders are treating mental health as a cornerstone of their benefits package.
Start-ups are also forming to combat the epidemic. Companies like Talkspace, Woebot, and Limbix are using virtual reality and machine learning technology to provide on-demand counseling service for stressed employees. While many of these are subscription based app services, companies can easily provide access to services like these as part of their health package.
What’s the Consensus on Workforce Wellness Today?
No matter the industry, conversations are being held at a higher level about the overall wellness of their workforce, and more efforts are being made to place an emphasis on positive engagement and employee retention. As technology continues to innovate, researchers and programmers will find new ways to connect employees with the right counseling resources to help them lead happier, more productive lives.