May 21, 2021
The April Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition found that feelings of anxiety are up 33% for women and 40% for employees ages 40–59 as employers weigh policies for reintroducing employees to onsite or hybrid working schedules.
How can employers prepare for the mental health challenges facing returning workers? A Total Brain survey showed that two-thirds of American workers are somewhat or extremely anxious about returning to work. Americans are also fearful of resuming normal routines, with only 19% ready to take public transportation. Additionally, many Americans are still uncomfortable with the idea of being in close contact with others without a mask, complicating return to the office protocols.
Employees want to see a change in workplace culture towards mental health: After over a year of increased stress, employees are looking to their employers to open the dialogue around mental health and provide more access to mental health resources and tools, including benefits like mental health days. Colleen McHugh, Executive Vice President of the American Health Policy Institute and Strategic Advisor to HR Policy Association, commented that “member companies are seeing the increased anxiety and symptoms of stress in employees, highlighted in this latest study. As a result, large employers have been developing new ways to smoothly and mindfully transition employees who are returning to the workplace, while also pioneering new benefit offerings to improve the overall behavioral and mental health of all employees.”
Upcoming mental health webinar: The American Health Policy Institute is holding a webinar next Wednesday, May 26th from 11 a.m.–12 p.m. EDT on how grief in the COVID-19 era has impacted employees and how employers can help support their employees and build a more resilient workforce. The webinar will feature David Rodriguez, Vice Chair, HR Policy Association, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Marriott International, and Dr. Laurie Hommema, Medical Director, Provider and Associate Wellbeing, OhioHealth. Find more information and register for the webinar here.