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Are Employers Doing Enough to Address Mental Wellness?


The last few years have seen companies place greater emphasis on addressing the mental and emotional wellbeing of their employees. But despite these efforts, many professionals and even employers believe that more can be done about mental health in the workplace.

Helping to prevent burnout is one such example and was the focal point of a study conducted by University of Phoenix.

The data uncovered provided insights into how today’s employees view mental wellness in the workplace and what they think about employer efforts. Let’s take a look at the survey results.


The University of Phoenix survey was taken online by 2,020 working adults in the United States. The first result showed that 55% of workers have experienced burnout with their job. However, only 34% said they took days off to address burnout and other mental health issues (compared to 61% for physical health reasons).

The survey uncovered a few of the common causes of job burnout:

What is concerning for employers is that job burnout leads to a decrease in job satisfaction, which can eventually cause employees to seek new employment opportunities.

According to the study, just 44% of workers are satisfied with their job, while a staggering 86% believe burnout correlates with job satisfaction.


The next part of the survey revealed what Americans view as signs of job burnout, and they did it in two views: the general population and those who have experienced burnout.

Each listed the same four symptoms with almost the same percentages:

  • Fatigue – 68% who have experienced burnout; 66% general population
  • Anxiety – 65% who have experienced burnout; 67% general population
  • Anger – 53% who have experienced burnout; 55% general population
  • Depression – 48% who have experienced burnout; 58% general population

Next, the survey explored why workers don’t take time off for mental health reasons despite the growing awareness of this workplace issue.

Survey takers were asked to select reasons why they don’t take time for mental health:

  • Company doesn’t view this as an acceptable reason – 46%
  • People are too busy at work to take off – 39%
  • Shame or judgement from coworkers – 36%
  • Fear of losing responsibilities to someone else – 35%
  • Stigma around mental health issues – 33%
  • Employees take them but don’t talk about it – 26%

The number one reponse is cause for concern for multiple reasons, and one that businesses have to change in order to help employees remain healthy and happy at work.

But the study did show that some workers are taking time to address their mental health concerns. 12% of workers in the U.S. said they have taken at least 5 days off in the past 12 months for mental health reasons.

It was also revealed that parents who have children under 18 (42%) are far more likely than non-parents (28%) to have taken at least one day off to address mental health.


Employers still have room to improve in how they approach burnout and the mental wellbeing of employees. Enhancing employee benefits and workplace perks are two popular approaches that some companies have taken to address this important issue.

Improving all areas of employee wellness (physical, mental, emotional, and financial) benefits workers and employers alike, which is why it should be a goal for business leaders in 2019 and beyond.

One area of HR is becoming increasingly more difficult for small employers to properly handle — maintaining compliance with employment laws. Download our eBook, Guide to Employment Law: Topics Employers Must Know to Stay Compliant, to learn more about some of the biggest trends and topics in employment law.

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