Back to the Workplace but Make Room for Mental Health

Back to the Workplace but Make Room for Mental Health

As many employees are starting to return to the office after more than two years of working from home, the American workforce looks very different than it did pre-pandemic. As we pointed out in one of our recent posts, Americans today are more stressed than ever. Finances and concerns about work are at the top of the list.

Employees are also clear that they do not want things to go back to a pre-pandemic normal when it comes to work. Nearly half (44%) of workers say they want to work remotely three days a week or more post-pandemic. More employees than ever report they are willing to leave their jobs to maintain this flexibility rather then return to the office.

In response to this, companies are enlisting the help of psychologists as they develop plans to bring employees back to the office and retain them in their workforce. A shift towards valuing the work/life balance and mental health of employees is on everyone’s mind. Although important in theory, how do employers put into practice placing value on mental wellness?

We aim to suggest a few key ways that this can be accomplished.

Promote work/life balance

Creating a culture of work/life balance where employees are reinforced for having interests and values outside of work is important. Flexible work schedules, vacation time, and paid sick leave are just a few of the things that employees are looking for when looking for a new place to work.

Destigmatize mental health across the workplace

Educating employees, listening to their concerns, and talking about mental health in the workplace can help debunk myths and reduce the stigma. Educating managers on signs of burnout and early predictors of mental health problems can arm them with the knowledge they need to talk to their employees early if they are concerned.

Increase awareness to accessing mental health care options

Employers who offer an employee assistance program and/or counselling services should ensure that everyone knows how to access them. Further, local and community mental health resources can be made widely available in order to point employees in the right direction when seeking support.

Post pandemic, employees are starting to change their relationship with work. The stress of the pandemic has reshaped the way that people are thinking about their jobs and the lack of balance they may have had prior to the pandemic. In many ways, going back to the office gives us all the opportunity to make space for mental health which could positively impact employees for years to come.