Last year, many companies shifted to allow employees to work from home amid the pandemic. But employers are noticing that shift has also led to an increase in mental health challenges1 — as emotional and financial stress continue to take a toll on employees with COVID-19 stretching into 2021.
In a recent survey, employees reported interrupted sleep patterns and feeling less mentally healthy since they began working remotely — citing depression, grief and job burnout,2 which leads to reduced productivity and professional efficiency.3
In a survey sponsored by SHRM, the number of employers measuring their employees’ stress level is on track to more than triple by 2021, from 16 percent to 53 percent.3
The expansion of mental health benefits
With the rising number of employees needing support, more companies are providing much-needed mental health coverage. According to a PwC survey, 72 percent of employers are planning to offer mental health support.1
Other companies are helping employees with their mental health with apps that support sleep and relaxation, online therapy options, meditation courses and self-care training.1 Employers are also boosting mental health support by:
- Augmenting existing mental health programs4
- Expanding access through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)5
- Initiating employee engagement campaigns and incentives4,5
- Shaping a culture that promotes employee mental health2
For company leaders, modeling healthy behaviors is key to the success of employee mental health programs:2
- Checking in before employees check out — Encourage interaction outside daily meetings and obligations. Invest in self-care, wellness and well-being initiatives for remote employees and create content such as videos and webinars that focus on self-care to curb burnout.
- Providing coaching and therapy for leadership — Coaching can help leaders cope with anxiety and stress, which helps them recognize similar warning signs in their direct reports.
- Offering flexible work hours — The pandemic has lengthened workdays due to more Zoom meetings, emails and other responsibilities. Employees need the flexibility to balance work with home, school and family.
Close gaps with additional mental health benefits
Companies can also consider adding more mental health perks to close any gaps in coverage. Securian Financial offers a comprehensive EAP through
providing 24/7 phone access, video counseling and live chat. We also offer a robust
to help relieve employee stress related to personal finances.