For many decades now, it has become clear that employee mental health issues have not only an immense impact on the affected individuals themselves but also result in serious consequences for employers and organizations. Consequences organizations are confronted with can be reduced employee productivity, performance, and job satisfaction as well as increased rates of absenteeism, employee turnover, illnesses, and accidents (Harnois and Gabriel, 2000; Nadinloyi et al., 2013). Speaking in numbers, The Lancet Global Health commission (2020) estimated that in total, poor mental health cost the world economy $2.5 trillion per year in 2010 with a predicted rise to $6 trillion by 2030.
The majority of mental health issues related to work are anxiety, depression, and stress-related conditions such as burnout syndrome. Usually, these mental health issues are treatable and in most cases even preventable (Harvey et al., 2017). Overall mental health support at workplaces has become indispensable over the last couple of decades as employers play a major role in sustaining a healthy society and as a bonus a productive workforce.
To gain further insight into the employees’ mental health statuses at your company and to build out further data-driven mental health strategies, we recommend using Leapsome’s Mental Health Survey. The 26 items include multiple types of mental health and workplace-related topics which are differentiated into six categories: Mental Health Status, Work-Life Balance, Interpersonal Relationships, Safe Workplace, Workload, Mental Health Support.
Within the category Mental Health Status, the items focus on the current well-being of employees. Sleep deprivation, for example, has been found to highly correlate with reduced constructive thinking skills, emotional intelligence, and mental health which can result in burnout (Killgore et al., 2008). Additionally measuring capability to concentrate is essential as loss of concentration can be an indicator of depression and many other mental health-related problems (Tylee and Gandhi, 2005). Furthermore gaining insight into the stress level and workload of employees is valuable as researchers agree that negative work-related stress increases mental disorders.
Next to stress, other work-related causal factors such as the type of work environment, interpersonal relationships, health perception, as well as coping strategies have been revealed to impact the mental health of employees (Harvey et al., 2017; Nielsen et al., 2014). Additionally, researchers show that a lack of work-life balance is negatively associated with mental health disorders (Haar et al., 2014). Based on these and many more findings, the survey items listed below were created.
- I have resources and methods (e.g., taking breaks) that help me to reduce stress at work.
- [Company] offers mental health resources and trainings.
- What can [Company] start doing to better support your mental health?
- At [Company] employee health and well-being are a top priority.
- I feel that my manager genuinely cares about my well-being.
- My colleagues offer to support me when my workload is not manageable.
- I can openly talk about my mental health with my colleagues.
- My manager encourages an open and constructive approach to problems and issues.
- I feel safe making mistakes in my team.
- I am confident about my job security.
- Bullying or discrimination is not tolerated at [Company].
- I can concentrate at work.
- I feel mentally healthy.
- I get enough and good sleep.
- I feel optimistic about the future.
- I am confident that I can cope with the responsibility I have in my role.
- I have more positive than stressful aspects in my job.
- I have the feeling that the stress I have at work is positive and allows me to pursue excellence.
- I find my workload manageable.
- The deadlines that my manager sets are reasonable.
- Employees at [Company] can voice their opinions without fear of retribution or rejection.
- After work, I can mentally let go from work related topics.
- When I'm on vacation, I can take time off without being available at work.
- I am satisfied with [Companys] work-life policies and practices (e.g., job flexibility).
- After work, I still have the time and energy to do things I enjoy.
- I feel I have a good work-life balance.
To evaluate the results, we recommend using the various analytics tools you can find in Leapsome’s survey module. Further guidance on how to effectively use the tools can be found in this article.
Based on the findings from your surveys, you have the chance to gain insight into the mental health of your workforce and know how your company can take action (for example, using action items) to support your employees' mental health.
Organizations play a great role in the prevention and intervention of mental health issues in society. It was found that mental health support through employers has a positive effect on increased job satisfaction, improved coping strategies with stress, and reduced burnout occurrences. Lastly, your company will benefit from a healthy and productive workforce with lower employee absenteeism rates (Czabała et al., 2011).
Czabała, Czesław, Katarzyna Charzyńska, and Barbara Mroziak. “Psychosocial Interventions in Workplace Mental Health Promotion: An Overview.” Health promotion international 26.suppl_1 (2011): i70-i84.
Haar, Jarrod M., et al. “Outcomes of Work–Life Balance on Job Satisfaction, Life Satisfaction and Mental Health: A Study across Seven Cultures.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 85.3 (2014): 361-373.
Harnois, Gaston, and Phyllis Gabriel. “Mental Health and Work: Impact, Issues and Good Practices.” (2000).
Harvey, Samuel B., et al. “Can Work Make You Mentally Ill? A Systematic Meta-Review of Work-Related Risk Factors for Common Mental Health Problems.” Occupational and environmental medicine 74.4 (2017): 301-310.
Killgore, William DS, et al. “Sleep Deprivation Reduces Perceived Emotional Intelligence and Constructive Thinking Skills.” Sleep medicine 9.5 (2008): 517-526.
Nadinloyi, Karim Babayi, Hasan Sadeghi, and Nader Hajloo. “Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Employees Mental Health.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 84 (2013): 293-297.
Nielsen, Morten Birkeland, et al. “Workplace Bullying and Subsequent Health Problems.” Tidsskrift for Den norske legeforening (2014).
The Lancet Global Health “Mental Health Matters.” The Lancet. Global Health 8.11 (2020): e1352.
Tylee, André, and Paul Gandhi. “The Importance of Somatic Symptoms in Depression in Primary Care.” Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry 7.4 (2005): 167.