Our work environment plays a significant role in our daily lives, often having an impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. The U.S. Surgeon General recently released a report on workplace wellbeing and what companies can do to create a culture of wellbeing for their employees. With more than three-quarters of U.S. workers reporting at least one symptom of a mental health condition, and 84% saying their workplace conditions have contributed to a mental health challenge, a focus on mental health in the workplace is more important than ever. In fact, an organization’s attitude toward wellbeing influences retention and hiring, as a recent APA poll found that 81% of workers seek a workplace that supports mental health. 

A few key points from the Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing: 

  • Creating a physical and psychologically safe place is a critical component for wellbeing. A workplace that prioritizes safety enables employees to have adequate rest, provides mental health support and normalizes using those supports, and creates an inclusive workplace for people from all backgrounds.
  • Workplaces should foster connection and community. Companies that encourage collaboration, teamwork, inclusion, and a feeling of belonging can create a healthy workforce.
  • Employees thrive when they have a sense of autonomy and flexibility. Predictable schedules, boundaries between work and free time, and providing employees the freedom to control their work can create a sense of trust, increase productivity, and increase satisfaction.
  • People need to know their work matters. Employees who feel like their work has dignity and meaning have been shown to have lower levels of stress. Workplaces can encourage this by providing a living wage, engaging workers in decisions, and establishing a culture of gratitude and recognition.
  • People thrive when they have a sense of accomplishment. Employers can encourage this by creating opportunities to learn, providing feedback, and creating a clear path for advancement.

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