Employees want an extra week off work each year for their mental health

Employees want an extra week off work each year for their mental health

Although many workplaces are putting mental health initiatives in place in light of Mental Health Awareness Month, a new survey shows that more time off may well be the key.

The study surveying 2,000 adults on workplace practices found that, on average, employed respondents have taken four mental health days off work within the past year, with a further 38% saying that they’d taken more than this.

Nearly three quarters of employed respondents (72%) also said that they planned on taking another mental health day before the year was out. 

Further to this, the survey, which was conducted by OnePoll in partnership with virtual primary care start-up 98point6, found that seven in ten respondents believe that employers should offer mental health days in addition to paid sick days and holiday days. 

It’s unlikely to be welcome news for bosses, but there could be benefits to companies if they offer staff compassion.

Nearly 80% of respondents said that having mental health days and affordable access to mental health services would help them be more productive at work, while 64% added that they’d be more inclined to work for a place that offered those kinds of benefits. 

‘While the pandemic has certainly been a root cause behind the rise in mental health challenges, it’s also changed the public perception around seeking and receiving mental health treatment,’ Dr. Mara Kailin, 98point6’s Senior Director of Behavioural Health, said in a statement. 

‘In the past, many mental health needs went unaddressed, but now we’re finally starting to see the stigma around receiving therapy and other mental health services dissipate.’

‘People know they need help, and now with virtual platforms, care is more convenient and accessible. This affords people the opportunity to receive quality treatment on their terms, helping them to be happier at home and more productive at work.’

This comes as The Great Resignation has forced many workplaces to rethink employee retention and what they can do to make their organisation a happier and healthier place for others. 

One suggestion that has increased in popularity is a shorter working week, with campaigners saying a three-day working week will help employees’ mental wellbeing and combat the 18 million work days lost per year for mental health issues.

In June, 60 firms with 3,000 staff have signed up to take part in a pilot four-day week project in the UK. The six-month-long project, run by campaign group 4 Day Week Global, will give all employees a three-day weekend with no loss of pay.

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