As we get into 2023, mental health in the workplace continues to be a major focus. Over the past few years, more employers have realized they need to protect employee’s mental health and wellbeing and make these efforts a part of companies’ attraction and retention programs.
I interviewed registered psychologist Dr. Daniel Selling, CEO of Williamsburg Therapy Group, about mental health trends that will impact the workplace in 2023. Here are three trends to watch:
Mental Health Will Be Front And Center.
Rates of burnout, anxiety, and depression are at record levels. In addition to pushing employers to offer generous employee benefits packages, companies will also be forced to rethink how they can create a supportive work environment.
Employees want to work in a place that cares about both their productivity and their emotional well-being, said Dr. Selling.
“Even though insurance companies seem to offer options for mental health care, it can be hard and frustrating to find high-quality care that is covered by your plan. It is not uncommon to struggle to find a quality doctor with immediate openings.” This often leads employees to seek mental health care independent of their company’s insurance offerings. “Offering mental health services to employees that they are unable to access or results in a poor user experience is counterproductive.”
Mental health companies like WTG, he explained, will help make it easy for employers to provide quality mental health care to their employees by providing guaranteed appointments and access to doctoral-level psychologists. This benefits companies as well. “A happier, less stressed, and less anxious workforce is a more productive workforce—employee retention and satisfaction increase dramatically.”
Hybrid Work Isn’t Going Anywhere.
In a tight labor market where they want to attract and retain talent, employers will be expected to respond to employees’ demands for flexibility in their work schedule, including the ability to work from home. When asked about the benefits of hybrid work. Dr. Selling said, “Hybrid creates flexibility in our lives and workplace, which contributes to employee satisfaction and productivity. Making it easier for them to balance their work and personal lives can result in less stress and burnout. Hybrid work allows people to work in a comfortable and familiar environment, which can promote feelings of safety and well-being.” It also cuts out a potentially stressful commute.
However, downsides of working from home are that employees “might feel more alone and disconnected from their coworkers and like they don’t have any support. Furthermore, some people may struggle to draw clear lines between work and home life, which can lead to burnout and work-life imbalance. Another unique problem is that they may feel more guilt or pressure to be available all the time because they may think they have to help coworkers and clients during and after regular work hours.”
Hybrid work may also impact men and women differently. Dr. Selling explained,
Research suggests that women may face more problems in a hybrid work environment. Women, for example, may bear a disproportionate amount of domestic and caregiving responsibilities, making full participation in hybrid work arrangements more difficult. Also, women may be more likely to face discrimination and bias in a hybrid work environment, which can be bad for their mental health.
By being aware of both the benefits and challenges of hybrid work, he recommends employers encourage regular communication and connection with supervisors and coworkers and set clear boundaries between work and personal time and provide employees with adequate support and resources to address challenges that do come up. “Set up a way to keep track of your employees’ engagement, productivity, and health, and help them when they need it.”
More Companies Will Embrace A Four-Day Work Week.
It’s expected that in 2023, employees will also demand more control over when they work. This could prompt more companies to introduce a four-day work week in order to remain competitive.
Dr Selling explains that a four-day workweek could be good for your mental health in several ways:
- Increased work-life balance
- Less stress
- Improved focus and productivity
- Increased job satisfaction
- Better physical health
“It’s important to remember,” he adds, “that these benefits are not guaranteed and depend on the person’s work, personal, and family situation. Also, some employees may find that the shorter workweek makes them more stressed out and hurts their mental health.”