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Employee Mental Health Adversely Impacts Productivity

TELUS Health has released its TELUS Mental Health Index with reports that examine the mental health of employed people in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. The American report highlights that workers under 40 are 70% more likely than workers over 50 to lack trusted relationships at work, leading to feelings of isolation and as a result of waning social support, inflation, job losses, and housing concerns. Additionally, workers who don’t feel valued and respected by their colleagues or supported by their workplace are twice as likely to report that their mental health adversely impacts their productivity.  

The World Health Organization has declared loneliness to be a pressing global threat, with the effects of isolation and loneliness now recognized and compared to well-known health risks like obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity. In fact, the U.S. surgeon general is saying that its mortality effects are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.  

“The Index findings reflect a concerning reality, in particular for our younger workers,” says Paula Allen, global leader, research and client insights at TELUS Health. “It also impacts businesses as loneliness and social isolation negatively impact both health and workplace productivity. Rapid societal changes, alongside diminishing social support, are taking their toll. Additionally, there are challenges like inflation, housing affordability, and job loss risks that are clear stressors, especially at the start of a person’s career when there is typically less financial stability. Organizations can help by focusing on building a culture of trust, which counters isolation, and highlighting their health, personal, and financial programs, which offer crucial support.”  

Key findings are included below.  

  • Workers without trusted relationships are more likely to feel isolated, with 46% reporting isolation compared to 14% of those with trusted relationships.  
  • Employees are scared to speak out about workplace concerns. One in three (33%) do not believe or are unsure that their workplace is committed to ensuring employees can speak up about concerns without fear of punishment or humiliation.  
  • Nearly one in four (22%) don’t believe that rewards and recognition at their company are fair and biased.  
  • Approximately 13% of workers rate the mental health benefits and social services provided by their employer as two or one out of five (poor); this group has mental health scores at least 16 points lower than workers rating four or five (excellent).  

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