The American Psychological Association, or APA, is an organization consisting of over 130,000 members that includes researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students. The group’s mission, as stated on its website, is to, “promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives.” One of the many efforts made in that regard is its annual Work and Well-being Survey. That survey was released recently, and it revealed quite a few interesting and in some cases troubling results.
Work and well-being are closely tied realities. We spend the majority of our waking hours at work, almost regardless of our professions. It stands to figure, then, that what happens at work and how things are there in general are going to affect our overall mental health. The APA’s 2022 Work and Well-being Survey is the latest publication to delve deeply into the current state of the workplace and people’s perception of their well-being. Below we’re going to review some of the findings.
The Methodology Behind the Work and Well-being Survey
The APA worked with The Harris Poll, which polled 2,016 adults of at least 18 years of age and who reside in the United States. The participants were employed full-time, part-time, or were self-employed. The survey was conducted April 22–May 2, 2022 in an online format. Factors such as age, gender and other variables were weighted appropriately in order to produce a result reflective of the overall work population across the country.
A Rising Focus on Mental Health
For far too many years, mental health was something that was either minimized in importance or avoided altogether in the workplace. That unfortunate circumstance appears to be changing for the better based on the results of the Work and Well-being Survey. Specifically, 71 percent of the workers surveyed believe that their employers are more concerned with mental health now than they were in the past. That’s a wise direction to take, because 81 percent of respondents stated that how employers support mental health would be an important factor when they search for future work.
In terms of how employers can promote a healthy environment of work and well-being, workers identified the following types of support as most important:
- Flexible work hours – 41 percent of respondents
- A workplace culture that respects time off – 34 percent of respondents
- The ability to work remotely – 33 percent of respondents
- A four-day work week – 31 percent of respondents
It seems that employers will need to, if they haven’t already, begin to adjust their approach with regards to mental health if they want to compete for talent and protect workforce stability in the future.
Case in point: 11 percent of the respondents reported that their employer had people on-site with mental health training. Of those who answered in this manner, 94 percent stated that they felt that this support was effective.
Work and Well-being Inflation and Compensation
People have been dissatisfied, either quietly or overtly, with what they were being paid at their jobs since the beginning of time. When society enters a period where inflation is rising, as it is now, that concern is only exacerbated for obvious reasons. For example, CNBC published a report earlier this year that stated that two-thirds of American workers felt that was not adequate to cover the costs of inflation.
It’s hardly unknown that people who feel that they are not paid adequately are not going to feel as high a degree of satisfaction with their jobs as those who do. 71 percent of the people participating in the 2022 Work and Well-being Survey also stated that they felt that their pay was not keeping up with the current inflation trends. Of those who had this concern:
- 39 percent stated that their work environment had a negative impact on their mental health.
- 54 percent typically felt tense or stressed.
- 37 percent intended to look for a new job.
- 21 percent expressed a desire to quit their job.
Toxic and Abusive Workplace Environments Remain
Despite the overall positivity contained in the Workplace and Well-being Survey, there remains several data points of concern for those who are in favor of additional workplace mental health initiatives. 18 percent of respondents stated that they considered their workplace to be toxic. The numbers, when broken down by type of work involved, were as follows:
- Office workers – 15 percent
- Customer service/client/patient-centric workers – 21 percent
- Manual laborers – 22 percent
Perhaps most troubling was that 30 percent of respondents stated that they had experienced harassment, verbal abuse, or physical violence in the workplace. 22 percent of workers also responded that they had endured verbal abuse wither from someone inside or outside of their organization in the workplace.
Overall Levels of Job Satisfaction Are High
Despite the problematic data above, the overall numbers indicate that the current state of work and well-being is relatively strong. 91 percent of those surveyed said that they were either somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. There were some slight variations to that number based on factors such as type of work and demographics, but generally speaking most people felt good about where they were in their work life.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
Whether it’s because of the relationship between work and well-being mentally or for some other reason, far too many people in the world today still find themselves suffering from serious mental health challenges. If this includes you or someone you love, you need to seek the help of professionals who understand what it takes to get down to the business of facing these problems head-on.
SoCal Empowered is an in-house Orange County mental health provider that is staffed by a team of experienced professionals. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.