Hartford, CT (WorkersCompensation.com) – Employers who make mental health resources available are more likely to have resilient, dedicated employees than those who don’t, according to a new survey. While many workers experienced some type of negative effect on their mental health during the pandemic, those who felt their employers were supportive fared better.
“About 1 in 3 workers who said their employer provides more than enough mental health resources also stated that loyalty to their employer increased (33%) and their ability to manage stress improved (30%) compared to before the pandemic,” according to the survey by The Travelers Companies. “Meanwhile, 42% of workers who feel their employer has not provided enough mental health support said their ability to manage stress worsened during the pandemic, and 29% said loyalty to their employer decreased.”
The results re based on a national survey of 2,000 employed adults in more than 10 industries. Worries about losing a loved one, loneliness and personal stress were widely reported. However, the survey showed most employees have been able to bounce back.
“…respondents have remained resilient, as most reported that their mental state appears to be recovering, with 73% describing their current mental health as excellent or good – up from 67% in the early months of the pandemic,” the report said. “Positivity and the use of coping mechanisms are likely contributing to the improving outlooks.”
The respondents were asked to list any ‘silver lining’ they’ve experienced during the pandemic. Most identified at least one, with the most cited as having a job. Other answers included saving money, working remotely, and picking up a new hobby.
When asked about what has contributed to increased work stress, answers included increased workload, longer hours, less work-life balance, financial insecurity, child-care and safety, among others.
How employees coped with their mental health issues has been somewhat dependent on their ages.
“To cope with loneliness, baby boomers were more likely than other cohorts to have reached out to friends, family or co-workers (44%), worked (37%), exercised faith (30%) or meditated (28%),” the study said. “Millennials were more likely to have used social media (42%), a new hobby (26%) or substances (24%) to handle being alone.
Gen Xers and baby boomers were more likely to see being employed and no longer commuting as silver linings during the pandemic, while millennials were more likely to see multitasking between personal and professional life, new hobbies and connecting with others virtually as positives.”
Employers who take a whole person view of employee health can help workers fare better mentally and physically, the study said. Communicating and providing a safe environment were cited as places to start.
“Understanding an employee’s mental health plays an important role in managing workplace injuries,” said Marcos Iglesias, MD, VP and Chief Medical Director at Travelers. “The pandemic has likely affected the many psychosocial factors that can complicate the healing process and delay the time it takes to recover from a physical injury. It’s encouraging to see workers’ mental health trending back toward pre-pandemic levels because when employees are in a good mental state, they are safer, more productive and can often recuperate quicker if they do get hurt.”