How to address workplace stress in a post-pandemic world

Benefit Trends July 29, 2021

It’s safe to say we’ve all experienced the weight of the world on our shoulders the past 16 months. Even as that weight is beginning to lift as the world slowly reopens again, the global pandemic has left its mark on us for years to come. The mental exhaustion of the pandemic is causing workplace stress and becoming one of the biggest issues companies are facing. In fact, 90% of human resources professionals say employee stress has increased in the last year—47% of whom say their stress levels have increased “dramatically.”This is not surprising, given that 37% of employed respondents say they are currently working longer hours than usual since the pandemic started.2

Support for employee mental health and well-being isn’t optional anymore; it’s a priority employers need to get behind. Here’s why prioritizing employee well-being and expanding access to mental health coverage is key.

Reduce costs and risk

Finding ways to promote mental health and well-being as employees return to work is an investment for your company and your employees. Employees who are struggling with their mental health are more likely to feel distracted at work—resulting in loss productivity and performance that can seriously disrupt a company financially. In fact, workplace stress, when not addressed, can lead to serious mental health conditions and costs employers $125 to $190 billion in lost productivity and healthcare costs.3

Unhealthy stress and workplace exhaustion can take a heavy toll on virtually all aspects of company performance. Roughly a third of employees are experiencing stress during the pandemic, which could lead to lower productivity, engagement and loyalty, as well as increased absenteeism.4 These healthcare, sick leave, turnover and lowered productivity costs represent an enormous hit to the bottom line, so it’s in the interest of employers to actively address the ways their employees are being supported and cared for—in order to prevent or reduce workplace exhaustion.

Access to mental health care

The pandemic may have shined a brighter light on the importance of mental health, but it doesn’t end there. In a post-pandemic world, employees are craving access to the right mental health and well-being support from their employers. That could be support for routine needs or access to counseling and therapy sessions. Companies who are not proactively providing resources and education around mental health are falling short in fostering a healthy workplace for employees coping with stressful pressures and mental health issues.

In a recent study, more than 80% of the employees surveyed believe everyone at their company is offered the same resources, regardless of individual needs and goals. Additionally, over half of workers say they have received irrelevant support.5 Employees were hired for different needs of the company, in turn, each employee also has specific needs in order to thrive. But one-size-fits-all primary health insurance plans can’t meet these needs for all employees. Providing the full spectrum of support for a diverse workforce not only helps to create a healthy workplace but also allows companies to position themselves as employers of choice.

Provide the right amount flexibility

Today, the pandemic has reshaped the word “flexibility” into a newfound expectation employees have when they think of their current company or future career choices. For the past 16 months employees have managed to maintain productivity or exceed managers’ expectations in their remote-work and hybrid environments. Remote and hybrid work has become the norm during the pandemic, and employees want to keep it that way. In fact, 88% of employees surveyed said they want to work for an organization that offers “complete flexibility” when it comes to their location and hours worked.6

Flexibility is a key component to alleviating workplace stress. Employers’ can now take this transformational workplace shift and use it to their advantage as a built-in incentive. Providing this incentive can ultimately enhance the employee experience in a flexible environment that can drive employee engagement and productivity.

The bottom line of workplace stress

The pandemic has brought workplace stress and mental health issues into our homes and office environments without warning. As a result, many employees are turning to their employers for access to the right support for their mental health and well-being needs. Therefore, an effective plan for business recovery is to ensure workers remain productive and healthy, and at the core of this provide adequate mental health support for all employees dealing with workplace stress. ArmadaCare recently introduced WellPak, a suite of complementary health insurance plans* that provides all-in-one access to coverage and support for employees’ mental health and well-being. It includes access to a full spectrum of care for everyday to critical needs with Connect & Thrive. WellPak can be layered over the primary health insurance plan to enhance coverage for select employees or a broad population. Learn more.

*The above referenced supplemental health insurance policies have exclusions, limitations and benefits that vary by plan and state. To obtain a quote or for more details on coverage, contact ArmadaCare. 

1 HRexecutive, 2021

Flexjobs,2020

Benefitnews,2020

4 Metlife,2020

5 Benefitnews,2020

6 Benefitnews,2020

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