We spend over a third of our adult lives at work, yet few of us probably take into account how that time winds up affecting our mental health. New research shows that employees who feel “valued” at work are more likely to report better physical and mental health than those who don’t.
Last week, the American Psychological Association (APA) released its 2012 “Stress in the Workplace” survey, in which 21% of working Americans said they don’t feel valued by their employers. Only 33% of those repondents were "motivated to do their best at work" or demonstrated a high level of engagement or satisfaction. For those who do feel valued, that number jumps to 93%.
David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, head of APA's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, explains that organizations that become successful have learned the importance of paying attention to “the relationships among employee, organization, customer and community.”
“Forward-thinking employers are taking steps to create a positive organizational culture where employees feel valued and, in turn, help drive bottom-line results," Ballard says.
The survey identified several factors linked to feeling undervalued at work, including having fewer opportunities for involvement in decision making and being less satisfied with the potential for growth and advancement.
In addition, 41% of the employees surveyed said they typically “feel tense or stressed out” during the workday. The most commonly cited causes of work stress included:
- Low salaries (46%)
- Lack of opportunities for growth or advancement (41%)
- Too heavy a workload (41%)
- Long hours (37%)
- Unclear job expectations (35%)
While this survey definitely serves as interesting fodder, it's probably not all that surprising. Still, it reminds me of how often people use the expression "mental health day" to describe the simple need to get away from the office and recharge their batteries. With more and more data to back up the idea, maybe there's a little more to it. What do you think?