31 Oct Healthy Mind Healthy Company
Employers and employees continue to struggle with mental health issues as we head into 20 months from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Poor employee mental health is negatively impacting the workplace.
The state of mental health is at the forefront, specifically since the vast majority of the workforce pivoted to working remotely in March 2020. Now many people are still working from home or grappling with how to return to the office. More and more job candidates are holding out for hybrid flexibility, and they are turning down positions at companies that don’t offer it.
No Vacation Nation
U.S. employees are the most overworked of all developed nations1. Just look at some of the stats:
- U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not “guarantee” paid family leave.
- At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the workweek; the U.S. does not.
- In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.
Most American employees earnestly strive to perform their best at work. There is always a segment of driven employees that work overtime, agree to take on extra projects, and rarely take a step away from their desks. However, plenty of hard-working employees were not accustomed to or willing to be available 24/7. The quick switch to remote work caused a huge chunk of our workforce to feel like they are required to be “on” from the second they wake up to the second they go to sleep.
Who Needs a Time Out?
We are all guilty of sending out work emails at nine o’clock at night and expecting people to respond relatively quickly, including on weekends. Employees who believe they must work 24/7 to achieve good standing in the workplace have the wrong idea. And unfortunately, employees often gain this idea through employers’ attitudes.
Massive employee burn-out and resignations are driving home the point that people need a time of separation for work hours and non-work hours. It is essential for your employees to feel like they have some downtime outside of their working hours, or their mental health can suffer.
Mental Health Matters to Everyone
Mental illness is not contagious in the way that physical illnesses can be. However, recent studies indicate that the answer also can be a little complicated. We know that one person’s emotions can affect the emotions of others. The phenomenon is known as “emotional contagion” 2 and it occurs when someone’s emotions and related behaviors lead to similar emotions and behaviors in others. The idea is that humans synchronize with the emotions of those around them, either unconsciously or consciously. The impact can be both positive and negative effect. For example, when a person is happy and smiles at you, the act of smiling back may improve your mood.
Awareness of mental health is important for managing your own emotions to assure your well-being and your employees. With a balance of hands-on experience and proven expertise, Soteria HR can help you implement in-office, remote, or hybrid best practices needed to optimize the health of your employees and the success of your business.