Sarasota, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – Long term stress can have a huge impact on the work place as it effects mental and physical health, as well as focus. As the United States deals with the health pandemic and now social unrest, the mental health for a lot of workers is at risk. In March of this year, Maestro Health surveyed 2,000 workers in the US about their mental health to get a feel of how often employers were addressing mental health concerns and how well employers were dealing with stress .
Seventy seven percent of the polled workers received their healthcare coverage through their employer, and 61 percent stated they were happy with their mental health plans. That said, 56 percent of employees surveyed stated they never received information about mental health topics or coverage from their employer.
Overall, 61 percent of workers reported they were comfortable talking to a coworker about mental health, and 66 percent stated that they had talked to a coworker about their mental health struggles. However, only 49 percent of workers stated they were comfortable actually talking to their managers about their mental health.
Employees in smaller companies with 50 – 249 employees are more comfortable talking about mental health. Small companies also reported higher levels of education about mental health issues, and appeared to be the most reformatory in their approach to addressing mental health needs.
Managers’ age appeared to be a key factor in whether or not an employee felt comfortable talking about their struggles. Over half, at 54 percent, of employees with younger managers in their 20’s to 30’s felt comfortable talking to their managers about mental health. By contrast, only 43 percent of employees with managers over the age of 50 felt comfortable broaching the topic with their managers.
The top four industries with the highest number of employees that felt uncomfortable talking about mental health issues at work were:
- Real estate
- Skilled labor
In comparison, 46 percent of retail workers and 47 percent of insurance workers received mental health resource information from their employers. Additionally, 38 percent of legal industry workers, and only 17 percent of skilled laborers were provided with information from their employers.
The top 5 industries that reported the least amount of stigma about mental health issues included engineering, restaurant workers, IT, HR, and non-profit companies. While only 35 percent of employees in the restaurant industry reported receiving information on mental health resources, 65 percent of engineering workers, 54 percent of IT workers, 52 percent of HR workers, and 50 percent of non-profit employees stated they received information about mental health.
The Maestro survey revealed that over half of workers experience stress on a weekly basis. Two years ago, a Gallup poll revealed that 55 percent of workers reported stress the previous day while the international average was only 35%.
Feeling overwhelmed was the most common symptom of stress, as 56 percent of workers reported being overwhelmed on the job. Irritability and anger were reported by 55 percent of workers, headaches were reported by 54 percent, and muscle tension was reported by 41 percent. Depression was reported by 39 percent of the workers polled.
Even though workers reported having stress, many stated they did not take time off for various reasons. Finances were reported by 35 percent of workers who stated they did not take time off because they needed the money. Twenty four percent reported stress was not a good enough reason to take precious time off, and 24 percent reported that there was too much work to do to take time off for mental health. Six percent of respondents stated their employer would not accept mental health issues as a reason to take time off.
The younger generation reported a much higher level of stress than older adults as 75 percent of millennials reported extremely high levels of stress but only 53 percent of baby boomers reported being incredibly stressed.
The term “burn out” has been defined by the World Health Organization as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Symptoms include lack of engagement and distance, exhaustion, reduced productivity, and anger or cynicism. According to the Maestro report, 69 percent of employees reported that they had experienced burnout from stress at their jobs, and 61 percent stated that they had never received information about burnout from their employers.
Journalism and media workers reported the highest burnout rate at 77 percent with a 29 percent education rate. Healthcare workers also reported a high burnout rate at 74 percent with almost double the education rate at 45 percent. Finance and restaurant workers both had a 74 percent burnout rate, however finance had a 53 percent education rate, but only 32 percent of restaurant workers reported receiving information about work related burnout from their employers.
When asked how employers could be more accommodating to their mental health, workers provided some insight on strategies employers could utilize in assisting them. Thirty four percent of workers cited flexible work hours as the number one way to support mental health, followed by flexible or additional time off at 32 percent. Twenty nine percent of workers cited healthcare coverage that provided adequate mental health benefits. The ability to work remotely was suggested by 27 percent of workers.
Maestro Health’s full report is available on their website.