Health and wellbeing in the workplace have been a hot topic since the pandemic, though that doesn’t always directly translate to change. A recent study from AXA UK and Centre for Business and Economic Research (Cebr) has found that a startlingly hight number of people feel uncertain about their career prospects, while a conversely low number of employees feel their employers off good mind health support.
This study is the largest that AXA has ever conducted, collecting opinions from 11,000 people across 11 European and Asian countries and territories. By repeating the survey annually, AXE aims to assist individuals, companies, health care professionals, and governments to monitor and act to improve mind health. This marks the third year of the survey.
Happy or unhappy at work?
Over a lifetime, we spend just under a quarter of our waking hours at work or working. Accordingly, the workplace is massively important in assessing community-wide mental health, where issues may be stemming from, as well as a source of potential solutions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasised the significance of monitoring and reducing workplace stress, particularly during times when enterprises are undergoing change. According to this theory, stressed out employees are more likely to be ill, unmotivated, underproductive, and unsafe at work. Also, such businesses have a lower chance of succeeding in a cutthroat market.
Not far behind, 35 percent of UK employees feel uncertain, with China and Ireland trailing behind at 32 and 31 percent, respectively.
The survey found that the overall approach to promoting mind health in the workplace is ‘patchy at best.’ Spain and Hong Kong ranked highest, with almost half feeling uncertain about their career prospects. Not far behind, 35 percent of UK employees feel uncertain, with China and Ireland trailing behind at 32 and 31 percent, respectively. Employees with ranked with higher levels of uncertainty were also likely to rank lower on AXA’s Mind Health Index.
Alternatively, employees who felt supported at work and had a positive workplace culture were more likely to have a work-life balance. The study found that those working for employers who were supportive of mind health were twice as likely to flourish as those who didn’t. Employees who feel happy and supported also tend to be more productive, so it’s in the best interest of both employers and employees for workplaces to have good mind health awareness and practises.
Alternatively, employees who felt supported at work and had a positive workplace culture were more likely to have a work-life balance.
Mental health stigmas as barriers in the workplace
Stephen Bevan from the Institute of Employment Studies says that, while stigma surrounding mental illness is declining, it is still a large barrier for individuals coming forward and complicates attempts to combat mental health problems in the workplace.
In many work cultures, issues with mind health still aren’t an acceptable reason for taking time off work. “Over the last few months, we talked to the very senior manager of a large organization who thought stress at work was better for productivity than any wellbeing profile,” Bevan says.
Some organisations try to improve ‘support’ by implementing activities such as gym memberships, healthy eating options, mood-tracking apps, or pedometer challenges. Rather than superficial changes, the AXA calls for ‘a systematic improvement in office practices, particularly in the quality of management.’
They site aspects such as having control, autonomy, variety, and discretion in a job to be major positive influences.
Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.