The U.S. workforce is burnt out, with 52% of people reporting they experience burnout due to their working conditions or the parameters of the job. When work becomes too stressful to manage, it’s important to seek support to protect your mental health. Many employers offer employee benefit programs with counseling/wellness tools to improve the experience of those working for the company. However, many people aren’t aware these options are available to them or how to take advantage of them.
Find out how to make the most of your employer’s resources to care for yourself and improve your mental health at work.
Common Benefits That Employers Provide for Employee Stress
Employers can help employees manage and reduce workplace stress by offering various benefits as part of the job’s perks. Some of the most common benefits employers provide to combat workplace stresses include:
- Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Comprehensive Workplace Health and Safety Programs (CWHS Programs)
- Flexible work schedules
- Paid time off
- Paid sick days
EAPs are programs that provide employees and their families with access to free counseling services. These confidential counseling services allow employees to speak to a professional about personal challenges they’re experiencing that impact job performance, workplace stresses, financial or legal concerns, work-life balance and much more. Typically, employees can access these services 24/7 so they have the support they need.
Depending on your workplace, your employer may offer these services either on a self-referral, informal referral or formal referral basis. Self-referral EAPs are the most accessible option because they enable employees to seek counseling services on their own terms without involving a manager, coworker or HR representative.
Informal referrals may require someone else in the workplace to recommend the employee for the counseling services, but no formal record is kept of the recommendation. Formal referral EAPs may only be available to employees if a manager deems the counseling is necessary based on job performance or the employee’s personal circumstances. Talk to your HR department about the system in your workplace to find out what type of EAPs you may have access to.
Comprehensive Workplace Health and Safety Programs (CWHS Programs)
There are four main components to a CWHS Program: physical workplace safety, psychosocial work environment, wellness promotion and community involvement. The initiatives and policies the employer develops as part of this program are designed to create a psychologically safe workplace. The program supports employee growth and personal development.
Ideally, introducing a CWHS program to a workplace should mean employees feel safe and supported and have their voices heard. This reduces absenteeism, health costs and employee turnover.
Flexible Work Schedules
When the nature of the work allows it, many companies may offer flexible working arrangements as an option for reducing employee stress. By enabling staff to work from home some or all of the time, less time is spent commuting and a better work-life balance is possible. Personal commitments are one of the biggest factors contributing to employee stress, particularly if these responsibilities conflict with work-related tasks. When employers have flexible policies, staff can feel more relaxed about scheduling their personal lives around work.
Ask your manager or HR representative about options for flexible working arrangements to better balance your work and personal life.
Paid Sick Days
Despite the emphasis on public health driven by the 2020 pandemic, 24% of civilian workers in the United States still don’t have paid sick days. But, for the workplaces that do, it’s important for employees to use the days they have available to them as needed. This means not coming to work when you’re sick because you fear being reprimanded for being absent.
Sick days should also be utilized when you need to take time for your mental health, which is just as important as your physical well-being. Taking a paid sick day to decompress and reduce your stress level is beneficial to your overall health.
Paid Time Off
As an employee, it’s common to be stressed about taking time off work for pleasure or for necessary obligations like appointments, family commitments or personal emergencies. Without the support of having paid time off, you may be worried about how you’ll pay your bills if these circumstances require you to take a day or more off work.
Similarly, employees need vacation time to avoid burnout. When there’s no paid vacation as part of a job, staff are less likely to take these days off to recharge. A workplace culture that supports taking time for yourself is better for employees’ mental health. In 2016, more than half of Americans didn’t take their vacation time because they feared they’d be replaced.
If your workplace offers PTO, it’s important to take advantage of these opportunities. Look at these resources as an investment in yourself and your mental health.
The U.S. Workforce Is Burnt Out
Americans’ burnout from work is at an all-time high. Despite the availability of employer resources to support employee mental health, over half of the U.S. workforce is burnt out, according to an Indeed survey. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said feelings of burnout worsened due to the pandemic. Interestingly, 38% of those working virtually experienced burnout compared to 28% working on-site. This suggests that the inability to leave work behind at the end of the day results in higher levels of stress and pandemic burnout.
According to Reuters, anger statistics are also on the rise in U.S. workplaces, with over half of American employees reporting they’ve been yelled at or suffered verbal abuse at work.
These results emphasize the importance of workplaces supporting a healthy work-life balance to keep employees happy, healthy and committed to their jobs.
What Are the Benefits of Seeking Help Through Employer Resources?
There are countless benefits to seeking help through employer resources to combat employee stress in America. Burnout at work is a real danger for employees of organizations that don’t prioritize mental health, as is desk rage. Benefits for employees who take advantage of employer wellness resources include:
- Having a safe space to discuss concerns or problems
- Overall reduction in stress levels for improved mental and physical health
- Feeling supported and cared for by your organization
- Developing healthy coping skills for stress
- Stronger personal relationships outside of work because you’re happier with your job
Barriers To Accessing Care
Some employees may hesitate to access available mental health and stress management resources because they’re concerned their employer will retaliate against them for seeking help. Remember that it’s illegal for your employer to discriminate against you, including terminating you, because you have a mental health condition.
Get the help you need through employer resources or professional care at FHE Health. Our counselors are available to take your call 24/7 at (833) 596-3502. We offer talk therapy, medical integration and exposure therapy options for managing anxiety.