Research Report: Top Workplace Mental Health Benefits Ranked

Research Report: Top Workplace Mental Health Benefits Ranked

In our first blog about the 2021 Employer Mental Health Report Card: Ratings, Impact, and Opportunity report, we explored the disconnect over mental health support in the workplace between employees and employers. We also discovered why mental health and wellbeing support is crucial to retaining staff, boosting productivity, and enriching lives.

But there is also a clear return on investment for employee mental health benefits. According to a Deloitte study, companies earned a median yearly ROI of US$1.28 to US$1.78 for every dollar spent on mental health programs. On top of that, the American Psychiatric Association says workers in a depressive state perform at roughly 70% their overall capacity.

So, if the benefits are clear, then what are the most effective methods to maintain mental health in the workplace?

The 2021 Employer Mental Health Report Card asked workers and employers this very question. Both groups valued the same methods equally with one notable exception: workers placed a higher emphasis on flexible work schedules than employers did. The report sheds some light on why this might be the case and provides tips for employers to explore flexible work schedules.

Best methods to support mental health at work

  1. Flexible work schedules

In the report, workers were 39% more likely to select this option than employers were. The researcher noted that when it comes to flexible work schedules, employers often envision something very different from employees. Business leaders often assume the worst, while employee requests can be reasonable when they are given the chance to speak without the fear of repercussions. Employers can use surveys, focus groups and other options to explore what employees need.

  1. Access to qualified experts

More than 60% of both employers and employees said they valued access to qualified experts. HR professionals fulfill an essential organizational role, but most are not certified, mental health experts. Giving your employees access to experts for education, guidance and advice will help keep them healthy and focused.

  1. Company leaders openly supporting mental health conversations

Over 50% of both employers and employees valued this option. Everything flows from the top down, and leaders must demonstrate they take mental health seriously by promoting open, honest and authentic discussions around mental health in the workplace. Doing so sets the right tone for the rest of the organization and helps employees get the support they need.

  1. Relevant training and education

Over 50% of both employers and employees valued this option. Training and education is required to improve in any area—and that includes mental wellbeing. A curated list of relevant, high-quality resources for employees to easily access when they need support can help them address issues at convenient times in their busy schedules. Resources can cover everything from stress management to anxiety and depression.

  1. Personalized live counsellor support

More than half of employers selected this option, compared to roughly 45% of employees. Live counsellors allow employees to get confidential answers to specific questions.

  1. Fitness options

More than 20% of employers and more than 30% of employees selected this option. Providing fitness options doesn’t necessarily mean installing stationary bikes and a gym in your office. There are plenty of other ways to promote fitness in the workplace, like team fitness challenges. The report recommends asking employees about fitness options so your organization can respond appropriately.

Final takeaways

Every worker that had a positive mention of flexible work schedules rated their company as having a strong culture of mental health support. In addition, one in two workers said they would be more likely to recommend their company to others looking for a job if it offered these kinds of mental health benefits.

That’s a big deal. Mental health support options like these appear crucial to retaining staff and creating a positive workplace culture. In the report, three out of four workers said having access to these kinds of personalized, confidential mental health benefits would make them more likely to stay in their job.

In our third and final instalment in this series of blogs, we’ll examine the report’s findings around stigma and discuss steps employers can take to create a stigma-free workplace.

Want to read the full Lighthouse Research Report? Download it here.