Wellness in the Modern Workplace: Mental, Physical, and Financial
We all experience stress, sometimes more often than not, and it’s no secret that the pandemic has had an undeniable effect on employee stress levels. Common workplace challenges including fatigue, employee burnout, low engagement, and reaching and exceeding goals, in addition to normal day-to-day responsibilities, have been particularly difficult in recent months.
According to MetLife’s survey, 2 in 3 employees state they are feeling more stressed now than before the pandemic. Not surprising considering the rate of unemployment and the continued increase in infections across the nation.
Especially now that 88% of organizations have encouraged their workforce to work remote, it is fundamental to understand the type of stress employees are experiencing to ensure they’re provided with appropriate support.
Before we dive into workplace solutions, let’s uncover the main contributors of stress and how it impacts employees.
Oftentimes, when we discuss health and well-being, physical health is our first thought. In the workplace especially, we tend to overlook the importance of addressing mental health.
Prior to COVID-19, mental health was beginning to be widely acknowledged as a national crisis itself. Approximately 7% of full-time U.S. workers experienced major depression within the past year and 1 million Americans miss work everyday due to stress. In addition, the World Health Organization reports an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression and anxiety disorders across the globe, costing the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
In addition, The American Institute of Stress reports:
- 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress
- 57% are paralyzed by stress
- 52% of Gen Z has been diagnosed with a mental health issue
- Only 43% of US workers think their employers care about their work-life balance
Taking the current pandemic into consideration, these statistics are likely even higher. A study published during the onset of the pandemic discovered among those reporting stress, 62% expressed at least 1 hour a day lost in productivity and 32% lost at least 2 hours a day due to stress related to COVID-19.
Stress can negatively affect an employee’s productivity, relationships with their colleagues, limit their ability to focus on their career, and achieve personal and professional goals.
Mental stress can quickly turn into physical stress.
We’re aware that regular exercise and a balanced diet helps us maintain our physical health. But were you aware that stress can also have significant effects on your body? If stress goes untreated, it has the potential to cause severe health concerns for employees.
A survey published earlier this year discovered 43% of employees have become physically ill as a result of work-related stress.
The American Institute of Stress found that of employees surveyed,
- 62% end the day with work-related neck pain
- 44% reported stressed out eyes
- 34% reported difficulty sleeping
There are extensive studies that have shown that workplace stress is linked to health issues such as cardiovascular disease (obesity, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure) and even heart attack and stroke.
So, where does all this stress stem from? It may be shocking to learn that when evaluating how the current crisis is impacting respondents well-being, MetLife’s study found that more than half of employees cited financial health as their biggest concern. When asked about their holistic wellness in light of the pandemic, they reported their primary stressor was financial, more so than their physical, mental, or social well-being.
Not to mention the startling statistics on employees’ financial health even before the pandemic which include:
- 54% have at least $10k in debt
- 37% have student loan debt between them and their spouse
- 41% report struggling to pay bills almost monthly
The most notable being 78% of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. And with unemployment levels at record highs and no promise of economic stability in the near future, it’s no surprise that employees are feeling financial pressure and bringing it into the office.
Reducing Employee Stress
Unsurprisingly, financial wellness programs have been on a steady rise across all industries in recent years and is expected to grow even more in response to the pandemic. In fact, nearly half of employers said they already offered financial wellness programs and 19% said they planned to introduce wellness programs within the next three years. Financial wellness programs offer a dynamic and holistic approach to the personal problems that adversely impact employees’ productivity and well-being.
Because financial struggles are a main source of stress in the workplace, it is necessary for employers to reevaluate their benefit packages and consider programs that help employees navigate challenging times and unexpected expenses.
But when considering the appropriate wellness solution for your employees, it’s important to recognize that financial struggles present themselves on a spectrum and it is vital to implement a program that offers everyone an opportunity to participate.
To learn more about TrueConnect’s no cost, fully-automated, financial wellness program watch our demo. TrueConnect provides affordable and low-risk loans to employees who would otherwise be left with little to no options for financial relief without pulling a credit score.