The coronavirus pandemic put mental health squarely on employers’ agendas and this focus on employee well-being is even more important as some organizations return to in-person work.
In 2023, employers will continue to re-evaluate how they support their employees and it’s likely many organizations will provide increased flexibility, such as remote working options or a four-day workweek. They’ll also provide better support for their employees’ psychological needs.
Flexibility was a key theme in 2022, especially as organizations considered a return to the office. As European countries start to adopt the four-day workweek, the conversations are also increasing in Canada. Reports of increased productivity, better retention and recruitment, reduced stress and improved work-life balance will have many companies considering this option.
Four-day workweek studies have shown productivity decreases at a certain point in the workweek and that a more compact workweek can support employees’ mental health and well-being. This conversation will have traction in 2023 as more organizations in Canada try a four-day workweek.
A healthy employee also means a mentally healthy employee. In 2023, there will be continued pressure to improve employee mental-health benefits and a sweeping re-evaluation of extended health benefits.
In Canada, public health insurance excludes many mental and substance use health-care services, causing millions of Canadians to rely on employee benefits. However, many benefits offerings and employee assistance programs are simply not robust enough.
According to a recent survey by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, roughly two-thirds of Canadian workers have extended health benefits that include coverage of mental-health services, such as psychologists, psychotherapists and other mental-health providers. But these benefits are often limited.
Poor mental health costs Canadians at least $50 billion per year in direct health-care expenses, as well as a loss of productivity and decreased quality of life. Funding mental-health care through both the workplace and public health insurance is imperative.
In 2023, employers will step up even more to support their employees’ psychological needs and to consider flexible work arrangements like the four-day workweek. They can’t afford not to.