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Fewer Americans report a sense of belonging at work when compared to pre-pandemic

LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ indicates that close to half of Americans are working while feeling unwell.

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™, revealing a negative mental-health score among Americans for the 17th consecutive month.

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Key findings:

  • Overall mental-health score of -3.0 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark, reaching its highest point since the launch of the index in April 2020.
  • In the latest survey, 80 percent of respondents indicated that prior to the pandemic, they felt a sense of belonging and acceptance at work, but only 74 percent felt the same during the past month.
  • Meanwhile, 20 percent of respondents indicated that before the pandemic, they were unsure or did not feel a sense of belonging, compared to 26 percent feeling the same during the past month.
  • This trend is seen across all age groups, however, the proportion of employees who report feeling a sense of belonging and acceptance at work increases with older age groups.

Pandemic-driven work-from-home model contributes to worsening isolation among American employees:

  • The majority of employees (65 percent) who are working at a jobsite feel a greater sense of belonging and acceptance at work than those who work from home or in a hybrid workplace.
  • Isolation scores among those working exclusively from home are worse (-2.5) than those working in a hybrid model (-1.6) or from the jobsite (+0.4).
  • The 74 percent of respondents who felt a sense of belonging and acceptance at work during the past month, had the highest mental health score (+1.6) and the best isolation score (+0.5) compared to those who were unsure or did not feel the same way.

Comments from president and chief executive officer, Stephen Liptrap

“As we look to the next phase of the workplace setting, isolation will remain an issue for many. While many employees will be granted with the ability to work from their preferred location, those working in virtual or hybrid environments may feel excluded as onsite corporate cultures evolve or fear missing out on opportunities. Employers must continue to foster inclusivity and show all employees that they are valued to create a strong culture and boost company morale.”

Two in five American employees report working while unwell on weekly basis, contributing to productivity loss:

  • Forty-two percent of respondents report doing their job when feeling unwell (physically or physiologically) at least one day per week. The mental-health scores among this group are significantly below those who report never working while feeling unwell.
  • The majority (58 percent) of respondents indicate that they never work while feeling unwell. This group has the most favorable mental health score, at more than seven points above the pre-2020 benchmark (+7.2).
  • Sixty percent of parents report working when feeling unwell at least one day per week, compared to 36 percent of non-parents.
  • Additionally, respondents who have a mental-health score of -40 or lower, are estimated to have a productivity loss of 22 percent, compared to those with a mental-health score of +10 or more with a productivity loss of 10 percent.

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, Paula Allen

“We have been going through a long period of strain and we are entering a new phase where some of the same uncertainties that created the initial strain are continuing and appearing in new ways. We know that a workplace culture of wellbeing and support for mental health can mitigate this. Our research is showing us that many, including parents, are struggling. Employer support is an important factor in their health and productivity, and will benefit them and the organization.”

The full American LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on the impact of remote work on mental strain, reasons for missed time from work due to illness, employees’ ideal work situations and more.

About the Mental Health Index

The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey from July 30 to August 5, 2021, with 5,000 respondents in the United States. All respondents reside in the United States and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

About LifeWorks

LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals. We deliver a personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business.

ID-CORP, ID-MH, ID-US

Contacts

Heather MacDonald

LifeWorks

media@lifeworks.com
1-855-622-3327

Angela Pinzon

Kaiser & Partners

angela.pinzon@kaiserpartners.com
1-647-295-0517

American employees’ uncertainty about return-to-workplace plans contributing to declining mental health

LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ shows strong correlation between vaccination status and mental outlook

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CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–LifeWorks, a leading provider of technology-enabled total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™ report, revealing a negative mental-health score among Americans for the 15th consecutive month. The Mental Health Index™ score in June reached -4.5 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark, which is the highest point since the inception of the index in April 2020 when the mental-health score was -8.0.

In June, the research found that while many organizations have begun implementing return-to-workplace strategies, a significant portion of Americans require clearer communication on office reopening plans. One in five (20 percent) Americans are unclear of their employer’s plan for work going forward, while another eight percent do not believe that their employer has a plan. These groups also reported the lowest mental-health scores (-12.5 and -11.5, respectively) when compared to employees stating their employer’s plan is clear. When reviewing employees’ expectations about the return to the workplace:

  • Almost half (48 percent) expect that their employer will want all employees working in their pre-pandemic environment;
  • Thirteen percent believe that their employer will allow remote work to continue;
  • Eleven percent expect to work onsite at their office at least part of the time; and
  • Only four percent expect to have the flexibility to choose their work location.

“American employees have faced several workplace transitions throughout the pandemic, with many now settled in their flexible and hybrid environments. With economic recovery on the horizon, however, the anticipation of the return to the physical office may leave many Americans feeling unsettled,” said Stephen Liptrap, president and chief executive officer. “Prioritizing employee wellbeing across hybrid, physical and remote environments is critical to long-term success. As we look to the next phase in workplace reopening initiatives, organizations need to equip employees with knowledge and accessibility to resources to help them cope with change.”

Vaccination status impacting Americans’ mental wellbeing

In April 2021, half (50 percent) of Americans reported that vaccination against COVID-19 or reaching herd immunity would most improve their outlook for the future. In June 2021, the research found that those who report being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have the most favorable mental-health score (-2.7). The least favorable score (-16.5) is seen among those who are partially vaccinated. This group also showed the worst isolation score (-27.0), followed by those who are not vaccinated but intend to be (-11.5).

“We have reached a long-awaited milestone in the pandemic, with the vaccination rate of Americans continuously increasing while case counts decline. This is improving mental health and overall wellbeing in the short-term, however, we cannot forget the long-term implications of the unique challenges that the population has faced throughout the last year,” said Paula Allen, global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing. “There is still a long way to go before we return to pre-pandemic mental wellbeing. Americans need support, both personally and professionally, and the onus is on the collective population to put mental health at the forefront of every conversation and initiative.”

The full American Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on the mental strain faced by post-secondary students, how children have been impacted by the pandemic, and more.

About the Mental Health Index

The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey from May 28 to June 4, 2021, with 5,000 respondents in the United States. All respondents reside in the United States and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

About LifeWorks

LifeWorks is a global leader in delivering technology-enabled solutions that help clients support the total wellbeing of their people and build organizational resiliency. By improving lives, we improve business. Our solutions span employee and family assistance, health and wellness, recognition, pension and benefits administration, retirement and financial consulting, actuarial and investment services. LifeWorks employs more than 7,000 employees who work with more than 24,000 client organizations that use our services in more than 160 countries. For more information, visit lifeworks.com.

ID-CORP, ID-MH

Contacts

Heather MacDonald

LifeWorks

media@lifeworks.com
1-855-622-3327

Angela Pinzon

Kaiser & Partners

Angela.pinzon@kaiserpartners.com
1-647-295-0517