Improving Employee Self-Care and Mental Health
According to The American Institute of Stress, the biggest source of stress for Americans is work: 75% of employees say they are more stressed about their jobs than a generation ago.
While workers have struggled more during the pandemic, they have also become more resilient and adapted to new ways of working and living.
“While some people have lost loved ones, relationships or their health, others have become more empowered and are reevaluating their lives as we emerge from the pandemic,” shares Shevene Bryant, a Cone Health licensed clinical mental health counselor supervisor. “More people are prioritizing flexibility and convenience as they strive to regain work-life balance.”
Research studies find employers encouraging self-care can improve employee mental health, job satisfaction and productivity.
Three tips for improving employee well-being include:
Encourage workplace choice. While remote work may not be possible with industrial or transportation jobs, employees are increasingly seeking more choice. Consider compressed shifts or work weeks, flexible start and end times and input on shifts or break times. Offer flexible time off, especially for caregiving, a growing concern among those with young children or aging parents. In addition to mental health benefits, choice increases employee buy-in and attracts new employees.
Promote employee self-care. The pandemic has added a layer of stress, especially for employees struggling to cope with loss, anxiety, depression, financial distress or addiction. Offering confidential and convenient counseling assistance by phone, online or in-person has never been more critical, according to Kathy Clayton, a licensed therapist who has worked with Cone Health’s Employee Assistance Counseling Program.
Leverage openness to new technology. Whether it’s using technology to work more efficiently, collaborate better or provide virtual sessions on mental health topics, employees are more familiar with new technologies than ever before, adds Bryant. Indeed, a new Pew Research Center study finds 40% of Americans have used technology in new ways over the last two years.
“Employees’ lives – and their expectations about work – have been transformed by the pandemic,” concludes Bryant. “Employers should be asking, ‘What can we do so employees want to come to work with us?’”
To learn more about Employee Health and Wellness counseling and custom webinar offerings, contact Jacqueline Heyward at (336) 832-7315.