Wellbeing initiatives in the spotlight as support for workers wanes, report finds

More than half of Australian workers admit that stress is affecting their work performance.

Over half (57 per cent) of Australian workers admit that stress is affecting their work performance, as revealed in a new survey of more than 1400 Australian workers.

The ADP Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View, also found that Australian workers say they are getting less support from their managers than last year.

According to the findings, the proportion of Australian workers who say they feel supported by their managers when it comes to mental health at work has fallen from 66 per cent in 2021 to 56 per cent in 2022. Forty-one per cent believe that their managers are ill-equipped to talk about mental health issues without judgement.

In terms of what Australian employers are doing to promote positive mental health at work, workers also report that employers are less likely than last year to check in with them, provide wellbeing days off, offer special counselling services or allow stress management breaks. 

Instead, team-building activities and employee assistance programmes are gaining traction as mental health-boosting initiatives.

Kylie Baullo, managing director ANZ at ADP it is crucial for employers to remain vigilant about mental health as employees continue to face a tremendous amount of strain.

“A workplace culture that prioritises empathy and overall wellbeing holds immense value for both employers and staff. When individuals feel understood and able to take action towards ensuring positive wellbeing, they are more likely to perform their duties effectively, require less sick leave, and hold a more positive outlook towards the company they work for.

“Implementing employee assistance programs is one way that Australian employers are formalising their wellbeing support systems. It is essential to integrate mental health and stress support mechanisms into the day-to-day working environment and train managers to effectively manage these issues.”

While more work needs to be done to improve the mental health of Australian workers, many now report that their employers are making progress on developing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

One in six (16 per cent) say that creating an inclusive workplace culture is a key part of their employer’s support for positive mental health at work, up from 10 per cent in 2021. 

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