The strain of living through a global pandemic, social turmoil, and economic uncertainty in the past few years has left people feeling mentally drained and burnt out. The last thing employees need is a workplace that further worsens their mental well-being. Despite this, a 2022 survey found that 39% of workers report that their workplace environment has negatively impacted their mental health, explaining the recently high percentage of job departures due to mental health reasons.
It is in the best interest of both the employees and the business that employers commit to the continuous effort of improving their mental health support and accommodations. Ultimately, investing in mental wellness shows candidates that their individual needs are valued and respected, and if companies are unable to demonstrate this, they will struggle to recruit and retain talent. Below, we elaborate on the value of mental health accommodations in the workplace.
Mental health accommodations can be divided into two main groups: things to adjust and things to implement. Things to adjust are assessments for employers to make about the current state of their workplace, considering elements that could negatively impact employee mental health. A Harvard Business Review survey reported that 84% of employees could identify at least one workplace factor that hurts their mental wellness, with the leading factors being emotionally draining work and poor work-life balance. To advance workplace culture around mental health, employers need to honestly evaluate their current practices for areas of improvement.
There are several growing mental health initiatives that companies can implement to further support their employees. The most common are offering flexible schedules and modified breaks, providing employees with more time to breathe throughout their day. Companies are also offering extra paid time off and company-wide mental health days to continue this trend. Implementing mental health benefits and accommodations such as these leave 64% of employees feeling very well supported and makes them far less likely to leave the company.
Today’s companies are utilizing these practices to create a more open culture around mental health, with the goal to encourage conversation about challenges. However, less than half of employees said they had a positive experience when talking about mental health at work. Mental health training has grown in popularity, and there are a number of third-party services that specialize in training employers and employees, creating a more supportive, accommodating workplace culture.
Benefits of Mental Health Accommodations
Improving mental health support in the workplace provides widespread benefits for both employees and employers. For employees, feeling supported by an employer and other colleagues enhances feelings of acceptance and belonging, two vital contributors to mental wellness and the mitigation of mental health related issues. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE+I) is also seen as a contributor to workplace mental health, and by improving mental wellness accommodations, employees will feel seen and valued for who they are and the unique perspective they bring.
Employees that feel supported have also been found to be more productive and perform consistently well. A study conducted by Google found that teams with high psychological safety surpassed their targets by an average of 17%, and those with low psychological safety failed to meet their targets by a similar percentage. Employers also see improvements in employee retention from successful mental health practices, as workers feel valued within the workplace culture.
Moving Forward with Momentum
Mental health is a serious subject in the workplace, and employers need to treat it as one. Mental health accommodations are becoming a huge differentiator between the companies that can attract and retain top talent and those that cannot. As your company continues its journey to foster a supportive and inclusive culture around mental health, Momentum is here to help. For any questions, contact us today.
Contributions from Aaron Messer