Nearly Three Quarters of Companies Do Not Address the Mental Wellbeing of Their Employees
90% of employees experience long-term work stress, yet nearly three quarters of companies in the Czech Republic do not provide any targeted care for the mental wellbeing of their people. Those were the results of the second wave of a survey we conducted among Czech employees in October 2020.
Things are looking up in companies
While in the survey conducted in April, 82% of employees replied NO to the question whether their company was taking any care of their mental health, in October, this number dropped to 69%. Although this number is still fairly significant, employers seem to take the care for their employees’ mental wellbeing more seriously. They are starting to see it as part of their business priorities and a tool to support the effectiveness of their work activities, healthy relationships in the workplace and loyalty to their company.
"The situation has changed significantly over the last year. In October 2019, when I started working on Soulmio and was inquiring about wellbeing in different companies, it was a miracle when there was anyone in the company who wanted to talk about mental wellbeing. Today, companies are more open to the topic and actively take interest in online counselling and effective prevention,” said Simona Zábržová, the founder of Soulmio.
There is no universal recipe for wellbeing
According to the respondents, 31% of the companies, which are not indifferent to their employees’ wellbeing, choose to support the company culture and communication. In this context, the respondents mention open communication between colleagues and regular feedback (42%), a pleasant atmosphere in the company (14%), support for personal development (11%) and allowing flexibility at work, such as remote work, part-time work or flexible working hours (14%).
To a lesser extent, companies offer an opportunity to participate in sport activities or provide vouchers (11%), the services of a corporate psychologist (10%), coaching (6%), relaxation zones (5%), massages (2%) and/or healthy food at work (2%).
“The wide range of options is understandable. Every company should take into account what its employees are like, what they have a true interest in and what can actually help them. In addition, what works in one field may not work in another, and the same goes for individual positions. What I find important is mainly the desire of management to actively follow new trends and take away the most suitable solutions for their company. I also recommend working on psychological safety and wellbeing, and encouraging colleagues to actively address any mental issues,” explains Zábržová.
Pressure on performance leads to severe mental health issues
The percentage of employees, who have faced some mental health issues in the last 6 months, is also worrisome. In addition to the 90% of respondents, who have experienced work stress, 49% have suffered from insomnia, 43% have experienced anxiety and 39% of them have personal experience with burnout.
The percentage of those, who have experienced long-term loneliness, has increased compared to the April survey, specifically from 15% to 22%. We can assume that the coronavirus crisis with the mandatory restrictions, limited opportunities to meet and be close to our families, friends, but also colleagues has contributed to this shift.
70% of employees would use an online psychologist
Mental health is still not a topic that can be always openly discussed in companies. It is actually taboo in ¼ of companies. This is due to the intimacy of the topic, which is mentioned by 31% of the survey respondents. Approximately the same percentage of respondents believe that no one in their company would help them with mental health issues. Nearly 30% of employees actually consider a dialogue on this topic a threat to their job position or career growth.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of respondents expressed their interest in the services of a psychologist if it were a paid company benefit. Nearly 70% of them would like to use online psychological consultations.
Czechs want to learn more about wellbeing
Promotion of a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing includes mainly prevention and availability of information for personal development. For that reason, we asked whether employees would use educational content concerning work-life balance and mental health care (such as articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) if the company offered them access to it. We were pleasantly surprised by the results:
- 43% would like to read articles on related topics
- 44% would listen to a podcast with an expert
- 39% would watch educational videos with a psychologist
- 38% would attend specialized webinars
Team building is not a benefit of the past
Needless to say, employee benefits have long been more than just meal benefits or a phone for private use. In our survey, we focused specifically on benefits that employees consider the most important and would like to receive from their employer as part of mental wellbeing promotion. These are:
- Education, support for self-development and available educational resources.
- Empathy, listening, and trust of managers.
- More personal time and more days of annual leave.
- Flexibility at work, remote work, part-time work.
- Regular team building events and team meetings.
About the survey
The survey was conducted in the Czech Republic over the course of 14 days in October 2020. 81% of the respondents, who filled out the online questionnaire, were women and 19% were men. Most respondents were aged 25-44. People invited to participate were employees of companies operating in various fields, small businesses and medium-sized companies, as well as large corporations. 270 respondents participated in the survey.
Survey results (graphics) available for download (png):