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Addressing Poor Mental Health at Work: A Growing Concern for Employers

Poor mental health at work is a growing concern for employers, and it’s easy to see why. In today’s workplace, where new technology, automation, and artificial intelligence are rapidly transforming the way we do business, keeping employees engaged and productive is more important than ever. While many companies offer health care benefits to their employees, they don’t always address the underlying causes of poor mental health. This is where coworking spaces like Workbar can play a transformative role in enhancing workplace well-being.

Mental Health at Work Statistics

It’s no secret that poor mental health impacts our lives, but many people don’t realize how it can also affect our businesses. According to a recent study by Willis Towers Watson, nearly half (45 percent) of US workers report having experienced mental illness in their lifetime. Over three-quarters (76 percent) say they have experienced emotional distress due to work pressures in the last 12 months. More than half (51 percent) say their emotional distress was severe enough to impact their ability to do their job well.

In addition, recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that over one-third (36%) of US workers are experiencing symptoms related to depression or anxiety on any given day. The impact of poor mental health in the workplace may be evident through symptoms such as:

  • High turnover rates
  • Employees frequently calling out sick
  • Teams struggling to meet targets
  • Evidence of stress or burnout in employees

Impact on Productivity, Engagement, and Creativity

As reported by the American Psychiatric Association, unresolved depression accounts for a 35% reduction in productivity. It contributes to a loss of $210.5 billion a year to the US economy in the form of productivity loss, medical costs, and absenteeism. Depressed employees miss an average of 31.4 days of work per year.

Anxiety and chronic stress can also prevent employees from fully “showing up” to work, leading to reduced effectiveness and costly mistakes. Mental health issues can affect creative efforts and the ability to make decisions and solve problems.

A recent Qualtrics study reported that those currently struggling with mental health issues found creative tasks required more effort to carry out. The researchers claim that “positive mental health is associated with a faster, slicker runway toward creativity and innovation—and health in general.” People not struggling with mental health issues spent 23% less effort executing creative work than those struggling.

While it’s easy to understand the negative impacts of poor mental health, it can be difficult for some employers to grasp how much better things would be if their workers’ mental health were to improve. With the right interventions, including therapy, skill-building, and medication, researchers have found that 80% of those treated report improved levels of effectiveness and satisfaction at work.

Improving Workforce Mental Health with Coworking Spaces

Since people spend a large portion of their days at work or performing work-related tasks, it is no surprise that many claim their mental health issues stem from work. Chronic stress, if not managed, can precipitate anxiety and depression. Work can be a hotbed of stress-related activity that weighs heavily over time. Whether operating within a culture of fear, overwork, and unreasonable expectations, or simply not being fulfilled by the work itself, one’s occupation, role, and work environment can have a tremendous impact on mental health.

Coworking spaces like Workbar can significantly improve employee mental health by providing a dynamic and adaptable workspace that promotes collaboration, reduces the stress of commuting, and supports a better work-life balance. Here’s how:

  • Flexible Work Environment: Workbar offers a variety of workspaces to suit different needs, whether employees require quiet areas for focused work or collaborative spaces for team projects. This flexibility helps reduce stress and enhances job satisfaction.
  • Community and Social Interaction: Working in a coworking space fosters a sense of community and reduces feelings of isolation, which is crucial for mental health. Employees have the opportunity to interact with others, share ideas, and build supportive relationships.
  • Reduced Commute Stress: With multiple locations, Workbar allows employees to work closer to home, significantly reducing commute times. A shorter commute can lead to a better work-life balance and less daily stress.
  • Amenities and Resources: Workbar provides amenities like fully stocked kitchens, comfortable lounge areas, and wellness rooms, which can help employees take necessary breaks and manage stress more effectively.

Employers and leaders can benefit from understanding how the work environment impacts mental health. At Workbar, creating a supportive and flexible work environment is crucial for mental well-being. Employers can help lessen the stigma and improve mental wellness by openly addressing any underlying cultural impacts on mental health and providing critical education, resources, and support to employees in need.

The Takeaway

The statistics listed above highlight the need for companies to take an active role in the mental health of their workforce if they care about their employees and want to maintain a healthy bottom line in an increasingly competitive marketplace. When your workforce isn’t satisfied or engaged with what they’re doing, it can have a compounding influence, negatively affecting all aspects of business.

At Workbar, we customize solutions for teams of all sizes across all disciplines, providing spaces that support mental well-being and productivity. By offering a flexible, engaging, and supportive work environment, Workbar helps companies be proactive rather than reactive for the health and well-being of the company and those who give it life.