Mental Health in the Workplace: A Growing Priority for Employers
June 29, 2023
By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner ASE
In recent years, mental health has become a priority for employers. Numerous companies are introducing additional personal days for their employees to specifically address stressful events occurring outside of the workplace. In addition to these personal days, they are also implementing companywide mental health days.
An article in the Wall Street Journal outlines a few companies who have successfully implemented mental health day programs.
NerdWallet recently introduced four designated self-care days each year. On those days, the entire company suspends work to ensure that everyone feels they can fully disconnect. This initiative aims to alleviate concerns about returning to an overwhelming workload or feeling guilty for calling in.
In 2022, Alma, a mental health startup, started offering two paid “timeout” days for employees who need to process traumatic events occurring outside of work. This initiative emerged from discussions on how to best support employees after the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and gained more traction following other significant incidents that summer. Initially, Alma conducted group support sessions with a mental health professional, but they eventually decided to give employees the freedom to choose the best self-care method for themselves. Alma is currently collecting data on how employees utilize these timeout days. I will be interested to see the results of this research.
For employees who cannot take a day off on short notice, companies like LinkedIn and Adobe Inc. have established on-site “respite rooms.” These rooms provide a space for employees to decompress, recharge, process difficult conversations, and escape from the open-office concept. Other ideas for rooms like these include “phone booths”, meditation rooms, craft rooms, outdoor courts, and private music rooms, designed to promote relaxation and well-being.
These initiatives demonstrate a growing commitment among companies to prioritize employee mental health which is more important than ever right now.