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Eight in 10 U.S. workers say that how employers support their employees’ mental health will be an important consideration when they seek future job opportunities, according to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association.

APA’s 2022 Work and Well-being Survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll among more than 2,000 working adults between April 22 and May 2, 2022.

Workers revealed significant sources of stress in the workplace, including concerns about compensation, harassment, discrimination and workplace monitoring, among others.

Compensation:

  • 71 percent of employees said they are worried that their compensation has not kept up with inflation.
  • 24 percent feel that they do not receive adequate compensation, with 52 percent of those workers saying their pay does not reflect all the work they do.
  • Those who are worried that their compensation has not kept up with inflation were also significantly more likely to report negative impacts of work on their psychological well-being than their counterparts—39 percent said their work environment has had a negative impact on their mental health compared with 21 percent of those who were not worried about compensation; 54 percent of those who were worried about inflation’s impact on their compensation typically felt tense or stressed compared with 34 percent of those who were not worried.

Harassment:

  • 18 percent of all employees described their workplace as somewhat or very toxic.
  • 30 percent said they have experienced harassment, verbal abuse or physical violence in the workplace within the last year, either by someone within their organization (such as a co-worker or manager) or outside of it.
  • 22 percent said someone within their organization or outside had abused them verbally in the workplace.

Discrimination:

  • 13 percent of all workers said they have been the target of discrimination (such as unequal treatment based on some aspect of identity such as race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability status, age) in their workplace.
  • 27 percent of workers with a disability said they have been the target of discrimination in their workplace compared to 8 percent without a disability. Discrimination was experienced by more LGBTQ+ workers than non-LGBTQ+ workers (22 percent vs. 12 percent), and Black workers were nearly twice as likely as white workers to report that they have experienced discrimination on the job (21 percent vs. 11 percent).

Workplace monitoring:

  • 53 percent of employees said their employer uses computers, software, cameras, bar-code scanners or other technologies to monitor them while they work. Half of those employees (51 percent) said they felt uncomfortable with the way their employer uses technology to track them.
  • Employees who are monitored at work are more likely to feel tense or stressed during the workday than those who are not monitored (60 percent vs. 35 percent).

When asked to select from a list of a dozen possible mental health supports they would like to see employers offer, flexible work hours were the most commonly chosen (41 percent of workers), followed by a workplace culture that respects time off (34 percent), the ability to work remotely (33 percent) and a four-day work week (31 percent).

“These findings underscore the importance of mental health support in the workplace to workers across all industries,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s chief executive officer. “Some of the increased focus on workplace mental health support may have resulted from employers working to meet employees’ needs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though these efforts have been helpful, it is important to recognize many workers continue to struggle and need additional supports. Therefore, employers must maintain and, in some cases, expand their mental health service offerings.”

Source: American Psychological Association