What are the top-four mental health supports desired by workers?

Three-quarters of employees say employers offering more support these days

What are the top-four mental health supports desired by workers?

More than eight in 10 (81 per cent) of U.S. workers say that they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health when they seek future job opportunities, according to a report.

Specifically, workers want the following mental health supports, according to the American Psychological Association (APA):

  • flexible work hours (41 per cent)
  • a workplace culture that respects time off (34 per cent)
  • employment that provides remote work opportunities (33 per cent)
  • a four-day work week (31 per cent)

Nearly three-quarters of younger workers are prepared to leave their current employer for another that is offering better benefits, according to a separate survey.

Stepping up

The good thing is that employers seem to be stepping up in this regard, according to APA’s survey of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. conducted from April 2 to May 2, 2022.

In fact, 71 per cent of employees believe their employer is more concerned about their mental health than they were in the past.

Plus, many workers already enjoy flexible work schedules (46 per cent), remote work options (37 per cent), a culture where time off is respected (28 per cent) and four-day work weeks (14 per cent).

“More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the workplace looks very different than it did before many businesses were forced to shut down or adjust their practices,” according to APA. “Facing the stress of isolation, fears of the virus, and an overwhelming news cycle, it appears many workplace leaders have realized the need to address mental health concerns among their staff.”

Numerous workers in the U.S. have had mental health troubles in the past year, and 28 per cent have quit their job because of it, according to a previous report.

Room for improvement

Still, there is a lot of room for improvement.

Many employers are still not offering flexible work hours and the opportunity to work remotely even though 95 per cent of workers who enjoy these report that these are effective supports.

Similarly, although only 28 per cent report that their employer offers a culture where time off is respected, 96 per cent of those whose employers respect time off say that it is effective, including 63 per cent who call it very effective.

In addressing mental health struggles among workers, employers must reach out to their workers and ask if they are OK, one expert told Canadian HR Reporter.

Company cultures and employee perceptions around mental health have changed, according to Kelly Greenwood, founder and CEO of Mind Share Partners, and Julia Anas, chief people officer at Qualtrics, in an article on Harvard Business Review.

“Although employers have started to invest more, employees have rightfully increased their expectations. The future of workplace mental health demands culture change — with more vulnerability, compassion, and sustainable ways of working,” they say.

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