Well-being Programs Found Lacking, Not Addressing Current Needs
Significant Stress, Isolation and Work-from-home Challenges, More Pronounced in GenZ
Employees have not been getting the kind of support they need from their employers to better manage their emotional and physical health during the pandemic, according to the results of a new report from WebMD Health Services, a subsidiary of WebMD Health Corp. WebMD Health Services designs and implements workplace well-being programs and solutions for employers and health plans.
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The survey, The Pandemic Disconnect: Employee Well-being, Employer Response, and Opportunities for Change released today, found that 77% of employees say the pandemic has had a negative impact on their well-being, with more than half (51%) citing increased stress, anxiety and feelings of isolation (49%). More than one-third say they are feeling depressed, frustrated or angry more often, are exercising less and not eating well.
The effects of the pandemic on well-being have been particularly pronounced for employees in the GenZ generation (ages 18-25), with 90% reporting a negative impact on health and well-being. Older generations also have experienced challenges, but to a somewhat lesser degree. More than 75% of millennials, (ages 26-39), 74% of GenXrs (ages 40-55) and 70% of baby boomers (56-74) said the pandemic is having a negative impact.
The survey sampled 1,000 adults working full-time or part-time for U.S. companies with at least 1,000 employees. Comparative analysis was done for members of GenZ born between 1995 and 2002, millennials (1981-1994), Generation X (1965-1980) and baby boomers (1946-1964).
Well-being Programs: What Employees Need Versus What They Get
The additional stressors of the pandemic on daily life are reshaping what employees are seeking from employers. More than two-thirds of respondents said they are working from home versus 21% who were doing so prior to the pandemic; 27% are struggling with distractions and find it difficult (23%), and nearly 60% miss their co-workers.
The majority said their employer is not doing enough to support their mental health (60%) or physical health (63%). More than one in four say they have considered quitting as a result of the pandemic.
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Most employees (70%) said employers should be offering well-being programs for mental and emotional health, with on-demand access to coaches or services that can help employees manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.
Employees also said well-being programs should include:
- Caregiver support (54%)
- Pain medication addiction (47%)
- LGBTQ resources (43%)
- At-home fitness (42%)
- Social connectedness, such as virtual social events (40%)
- Fertility and family planning (36%)
- Relationship and sexual health (29%)
While 57% said their employer offers mental and emotional well-being programs, fewer than one in five indicated that their employer currently offered any of the other programs they would like to see.
Of those who do have access to these programs, GenZ and millennial employees are generally three to five times more likely to make use of them than GenXrs or boomers.
“Our survey shows that employees are struggling with the negative impact of the pandemic,” said Christine Muldoon, Vice President, Strategy, WebMD Health Services. “But, despite the challenges, employers have an opportunity to evolve their well-being programs to incorporate solutions that can help employees get through these times. Rethinking well-being strategies and listening to what employees need in different generations can have immediate and lasting results both now and when the pandemic is behind us.”