Today’s Workplace: Mental Health, Productivity, and Modern Benefits

Mental health is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now — from employers, to public service providers, to health professionals. The toll of an employee’s poor mental health on both, personal fulfillment and professional productive, are particularly front-and-center post COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent Gallup report surveying 16,000 workers across the United States found that about 40% of workers said their jobs had either an “extremely” or “somewhat” negative effect on their mental health, while about 30% said their work had an “extremely” or “somewhat” positive effect.

Demographically, some interesting patterns emerged from the Gallup data:

  • Women are more likely to report poor mental health than men. This is especially true for younger workers;
  • The gender gap closes among older workers, however;
  • Younger workers are more likely to report poor mental health related to their jobs: nearly half of survey respondents under 30 said their jobs had an “extremely or somewhat negative” effect on their mental well-being;
  • Only 15% of workers over 65 said their jobs are detrimental to their mental well-being; and
  • 45% over 65 said their work has an “extremely or somewhat positive” effect on their mental health.

That same report shows that poor employee mental health is costing the American economy nearly $48 billion in productivity annually:

Nearly one-fifth of U.S. workers (19%) rate their mental health as fair or poor, and these workers report about four times more unplanned absences due to poor mental health than do their counterparts who report good, very good or excellent mental health. Projected over a 12-month period, workers with fair or poor mental health are estimated to have nearly 12 days of unplanned absences annually compared with 2.5 days for all other workers. Generalized across the U.S. workforce, this missed work is estimated to cost the economy $47.6 billion annually in lost productivity.

Explicit and comprehensive benefits related to mental health can help address some of these concerns — both for the wellbeing of the individual employee, and for productivity. According to Gallup, a significant share of workers surveyed either do not have access to mental health benefits, or do not know about the benefits their employers do offer:

Across most industries included in the survey, more than half of workers didn’t have – or didn’t know how to — access mental health support through their employers.

Read the full Gallup report.

Mental health benefits are just one piece of the complexities of an evolving, modern workforce. At MACo’s Winter Conference session, “Calling HR: The Evolving Complexities of the Workplace,” participants will hear form a panel of human resource and legal experts about new and emerging considerations of the modern workplace — like safety, benefits, and legal cannabis — and how to best prepare to address them.

MACo’s Winter Conference, “Hit the Ground Running,” will be held at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, MD from January 4-6, 2023 (with a pre-conference orientation for new county officials on January 3). 

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: