The previous years have really brought to light the importance of mental well-being, and by now, the impact of mental health on business is widely known. As we head into 2023, forward-thinking employers will continue to dedicate themselves to finding novel and effective ways to support their employees the best they can.
The future of work remains dynamic as ever. Yet there are also some clear trends. From further welcoming Gen Z into the workplace to cultivating resilience in order to handle challenging times, these are the 5 corporate mental health trends for 2023 every HR professional or manager needs to know about. (As well as some concrete tips on how you can get the most out of them, provided by our psychologists!)
1. Hybrid working
The Corona pandemic brought many changes into the way we work. And some of them are here to stay. Remote work is such an example.
Of course, working remotely wasn’t invented during the lockdown. Yet as organisations rushed to continue business as usual, the many worldwide restrictions did prove that work does not have to remain confined to traditional offices.
For some, it was the change in the working environment they had been longing for, while others dreaded the monotony of home office life. For even more people, however, it was a seemingly paradoxical mixture of both.
This is where the hybrid working model comes in, offering employees a combination of both remote and in-office work. It has been a hot topic in mental health and will remain so in 2023 and beyond.
This is how you can make the most out of hybrid working:
- Explore the specific advantages and challenges that a hybrid model presents. For example, working remotely eliminates the stressful commute to work, but it can also lead to feeling more alienated from co-workers.
- Provide different options. For every person who thrives while working from home, there’s another who pines for social interactions at work. Give employees the choice depending on their preferences and needs.
- Offer flexible hours and encourage asynchronous working. Does it matter whether someone starts their workday at 9 am or 11 am? For most businesses, the answer is no. Show employees that you respect and trust them by empowering them to manage their own schedules.
- From lower costs on rent and utilities to reduced travel expenses (and a diminished carbon footprint!), hybrid working can save your company a lot of money. How about investing this into providing the necessary tools and technology, such as access to fast internet and an ergonomic home working set-up? Or perhaps a training on how to create clear boundaries between work and personal life could be a good idea?
Interested in more tips on how to get hybrid working right? Then take a look at this article.
2. Burnout prevention
New year, fresh start. Yet, some things inevitably remain the same. The need for burnout prevention is one of them. At OpenUp, we believe that prevention is better than cure; it’s better to nip things in the bud, than to repair the damage after it’s happened.
Despite the new-found sense of freedom that hybrid work offers, many people face more pressure at work than ever before. This is in part due to the current labour shortage in the UK.
When we’re missing staff, we’re inclined to transfer more work to our current employees. Yet this usually only leads to a vicious cycle in which even more people call in sick, or perhaps even quit entirely. So, what can be done?
Here are some key tips to help navigate this trend:
- Avoid falling into the vicious cycle of overloading your current workforce to combat labour shortage. It’s better to (temporarily) scale back a bit than to lose valuable people.
- Encourage workers to take time out for themselves so they can rest and recharge. Do this both in the long and short term. For example, besides offering generous annual leave, also remind all employees (including managers!) to take regular, planned breaks throughout the day.
- Learn to recognise the signs of burnout so that you can address it early on. By giving employees burnout training, they are also better prepared to spot it in co-workers and in themselves.
- Pay attention to employees’ work-life balance. Have they obtained a healthy equilibrium between work and other aspects of their lives?
- Offer mental health support and create an encouraging work environment in which these topics can be discussed. Make sure all employees have access to mental health services.
Interesting! A study has shown that a good work-life balance is the most popular reason cited for UK workers to return to a previous employer.
3. Cultivating resilience
Adequately supporting your employees has grown from a workplace luxury to an expected norm. In the UK, lockdowns are officially over (at the moment), but several new resilience-testing challenges have already arisen. From the war in Ukraine to the energy and financial crises.
While the word ‘resilience’ may conjure images of quickly bouncing back from unscathed hardships, it’s a much broader concept.
Resilience is the ability to cope with stress and change in life, while also learning and growing through those experiences. It involves emotional regulation, developing a sense of self-efficacy, having a support system of friends and family, and cultivating a positive attitude and outlook on life. It also means making changes when needed and having the courage to take risks.
Here’s how you can make the most out of this trend:
- Invest in mental health first aid training. Empowerment starts with knowledge. By offering mental health first aid training you not only equip employees with useful skills, but you also show that mental well-being is a priority.
💡 See how GoHenry creates synergies between their Mental Health First Aiders and OpenUp in our case study.
- Go beyond occupational health. Reducing absenteeism is important. But why not also help employees achieve and maintain long-term health in all aspects of their lives? This is what OpenUp aims to do. Our work is 95% preventative. And because of the convenience of our low-cost, on-demand model, we can offer timely support to a wide variety of people.
4. Leading by example
Employees are more aware than ever of their need for mental health support. And they also place greater value on employers who wholeheartedly offer said support.
That’s why leading by example is so important. It’s about showing, instead of (only) telling.
Yes, mental health has become less of a taboo topic. But we still have a way to go before openly discussing it is seen as the new normal. So, in 2023, why not help speed this process up and make mental health part of your company culture?
This is how you can make the most out of this trend:
- Prioritise employee health and be proactive rather than only reactive. Many still falsely believe that psychological well-being only matters in the context of a problem – something to be treated and cured ASAP. But an employee’s mental health is important at every moment of their lives. Proactive support empowers individuals to understand, nurture and enhance their own well-being. Day in, day out.
- Actively target stigma. Change takes time, but deliberate leadership-role modelling speeds up the process. Some examples are being candid about one’s personal experience, openly discussing mental well-being at work, making use of provided mental health-related services and benefits, checking in with employees, etc.
5. Welcoming Gen Z
As Generation Z (those born between 1996 and 2012) is steadily making its way into the workforce, properly understanding this generation is vitally important to create the perfect workplace to attract and retain them.
This is how you can make the most out of this workplace trend:
- Stay on top of trends and know what motivates Generation Z. This generation is generally seen as the most socially and environmentally conscious one. While Gen Zers do care about these issues, data also shows that they don’t consider these to be their defining characteristics. Yes, they are quicker to reject a job that doesn’t align with their values. But many are also likely to describe themselves as creative, ambitious, or adventurous rather than solely ethical. Provide work that plays into these qualities.
- Remain open-minded and foster an inclusive work environment. UK surveys have shown that Gen Zers are much more concerned about prejudice than previous generations – be it towards LGBTQ+, racial minorities, or gender differences. Besides offering proof of dedication to improving mental health in the workplace, actively fighting for diversity and inclusion is just as important.
By being on top of these corporate mental health trends, you’ll be better equipped to make 2023 a mentally healthy year for everyone involved.
Want to learn more about how you can support your employees with OpenUp?