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Employee Wellbeing Is New Job Duty for Facility Managers

Prioritizing mental health in the workplace may be the key to better job performance

By Amy Wunderlin, Contributing Writer  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Improving Employee Mental Health: Communicate Regularly

The conversation around mental health in the workplace has grown in the last few years as employers begin to recognize the importance of overall employee wellbeing on job performance. Research from the International WELL Building Institute found that investments in company-wide health strategies not only improved overall mental health and wellbeing scores among their employees, but enhanced performance and increased financial returns.  

The study found that occupants in WELL Certified spaces report improved overall workplace satisfaction by 30 percent, increased levels of productivity by 10 median points, and saw an increase in employee perceived mental health by 10 percent from 41.7 percent to 51.7 percent.  

Studies also show that mental health is a top workplace priority among Gen Z and millennial employees, who in 2020 made up nearly 45 percent of the workforce. In fact, one in five Gen Zs rank mental health as a leading societal concern behind cost of living, climate change, and unemployment, according to the 2022 Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial Survey

While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly brought this global mental health crisis to the forefront, it’s clear that issues around wellbeing at work aren’t going away anytime soon. The study also found that stress and anxiety remain at heightened levels for both generations following the pandemic, most notably in younger respondents. Of the 23,000 people surveyed across 46 countries, nearly half of Gen Zs and just under four in 10 millennials said that they feel stressed or anxious all or most of the time. 

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Facility managers must recognize this worrisome trend and create a more inclusive and empathetic work environment, especially as concerns around workplace violence, natural disasters, and labor shortages plague the industry. Trevor Bogan, regional director Americas, Top Employer Institute, recommends leaders take this time to educate themselves. 

“Knowledge is power,” he says. “The more you understand, the more you can recognize some of the warning signs and what that looks like for your employees and being vulnerable around that.”  

Removing stigmas 

Unfortunately, most organizations have a long way to go in creating a mental health-friendly work environment, with many Gen Zs and millennials still wary of the stigma around discussing mental wellbeing at work. According to the Deloitte survey, 33 percent of Gen Zs and 35 percent of millennials say they would not be comfortable speaking openly with their direct manager about feeling stressed or anxious or about other mental health challenges. Of those who have taken time off work for mental health issues, half chose to give other reasons for their absence. 

While employers may be ready to talk more openly about mental health and even offering resources to support their employees, removing the stigma around them comes down to the overall environment created by leaders and managers. The most effective mental health and well-being programs are stigma-free, inclusive, and empathy-led ones.  

In his research, Bogan has found that organizations that are most successful in handling issues around mental health and wellbeing do so by embedding practices to drive personal building relationships in the workplace. This requires managers to be strategic in increasing the encouragement of holistic support to their team members, as well as creating environments that are psychologically safe for employees to be able to bring these topics up and have those conversations. 

“This means being vulnerable, being empathetic, training around that, and training their managers to respond in an empathetic, flexible way during life changes and events,” says Bogan.  

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Employee Wellbeing Is New Job Duty for Facility Managers

Improving Employee Mental Health: Communicate Regularly

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  posted on 3/1/2024   Article Use Policy

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