Mental well-being in tomorrow’s workplace
41% more days lost due to mental illness and a duration of absence of around 39.2 days per case of mental sick leave – these are just two of the sad records from 2021 reported by the German DAK in its Psychreport in 2022. It seems that our psyche is not that good in shape.
The current high numbers may also still be due to the pandemic, but the trend was already clear in the years before 2020. The corona crisis has only intensified what was already there and is now manifesting itself in the workplace in high stress levels, waves of resignations, and peaks in sick leave.
What does this mean for the future of work? Can companies do anything to counteract the negative consequences of this trend? In the end, companies will be concerned with finding new employees and retaining existing ones for as long as possible. So, let’s first take a look at what really matters to the employees of today and tomorrow.
Young, well-trained employees want more than just money
Today, hardly any company can escape the battle for the best, the so-called „war of talents“. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, attracting the right people to the organization is difficult. Retaining them in the organization over several years is even more difficult.
Companies should therefore know as precisely as possible what current and future employees expect of them in order to keep up in the modern employee market. And one thing is clear: the talents of tomorrow, i.e. Millennials and Gen Z, expect a lot:
- flexible working time models
- home office
- a real work-life balance
- personal development and much more.
The 2 most important criteria when Gen Z and Millennials choose a company are work-life balance and opportunities for further development.
In its Gen Z & Millennial survey, Deloitte reports that this target group is now paying more attention to the social and environmental values of their employers: If they match one’s values, there is a high probability that an employment relationship will last more than five years. If they do not match, the company is usually eliminated during the selection process.
In the Deloitte study, work-life balance and opportunities for further development also emerged as the two most important criteria for Gen Z and Millennials to choose a company. Salary seems to play a bigger role for most only at a later stage: Just under half cite it as the number one reason for quitting, but when it comes to reasons to start at a new company, salary doesn’t even make it into the top 3.
So, an attractive financial offer is no longer enough to set a company apart from the competition. What is needed are benefits that address the needs of employees and deliver added value that goes beyond the purely financial.
Mental well-being as a successor factor in a new working world
But where does a company start? If you look at the aforementioned figures on mental health, it becomes clear that mental well-being is one of the most promising starting points. This then fits in with the expectations of young, well-educated talent, around 45% of whom feel stressed at work and want more support, according to Deloitte’s study.
The keyword is therefore corporate wellness, or more technically: workplace health promotion (WHP).
More wellness, more productivity, more satisfaction
If you think of massages and face masks when you hear the term wellness, you’re way off the mark – although there’s nothing wrong with such benefits, of course. But when we talk about corporate wellness, we mean something else: It’s about giving all employees the right tools to take care of their emotional well-being.
The fact that promoting physical health in the workplace is profitable has long been accepted by companies and is reflected in offers such as
- memberships or discounts at gyms
- in-house sports facilities
- ergonomic workstations and related training
- nutrition workshops or weekly yoga and pilates sessions
Benefits like these are almost part of the standard repertoire of a modern company.
In the area of mental health, the situation is different in many places. On the one hand, this may be due to the stigmatization of the psyche in society and in the work environment, but on the other hand, it may also be due to the fact that for a long time, there were only a few offerings in this area on the market. In recent years, however, the tide has turned with platforms such as Likeminded.
Mental illness is increasingly becoming the reason for absenteeism and early retirement.
And it’s high time, experts agree. The German Federal Ministry of Health writes: “Mental illnesses are increasingly becoming the reason for absenteeism and early retirement. Around 15% of all days of absence are due to mental illness.”
Mental illnesses are also particularly serious because of their duration, which at an average of 36 days is three times as long as the 12 days for other illnesses. All age groups of the working population are affected. For this reason, prevention and the promotion of mental health are becoming increasingly important as part of sustainable corporate management, because the health of employees makes a significant contribution to the economic success of companies.”
What mental health care can look like in companies
More than one location, employees in home or remote offices, personnel in the field – working in a company today does not always mean sitting in one and the same office. More often, employees are spread across multiple locations, and as has been since the pandemic, people value this flexibility in terms of where and when they work, which is why many companies grant it to them.
And that’s what makes a digital solution like Likeminded so attractive. All offers are available online and therefore from anywhere – even at short notice if needed. All it takes to access them is a browser and an account, and everyone can put together his or her own mental well-being program based on current personal and professional challenges:
While the saleswoman prefers to do a targeted mindfulness exercise before the next customer appointment, the production manager prefers a one-on-one meeting with a psychologist, and the social media manager feels most comfortable in a group workshop with like-minded people on the topic of self-worth.
With Likeminded, everyone can find what suits him or her best: in addition to individual conversations and group workshops, there are also expert webinars and a comprehensive media library with audio, meditation, and mindfulness exercises on a wide range of topics, such as:
- Stress & overload
- Relaxation & sleep
- Dealing with change
- Fears & worries
- Harmonious relationships
- Conflict at work
- Personal development
- Focus & motivation
Most companies see the first effects quickly: employee loyalty increases and fluctuation decreases. Sickness rates decrease (by up to -50% for some of our customers). Motivation and productivity increase (many report 4x more productive employees). Your company becomes more attractive as an employer. And even investors like to see such programs nowadays.
So, it pays off to invest in mental health in the workplace. In the end, the companies that offer their employees the most holistic support possible – including mental support – will prevail in the market. For the future, this means: It is better to invest today than tomorrow in order to be and remain well positioned in the long term.