Negative workplace cultures impact mental health and lead to two and a half times less productivity per year than positive work environments, and new research from digital and in-person total wellbeing solutions firm LifeWorks, a subsidiary of TELUS Health, reveals that four out of 10 (38 percent) Americans believe there is a significant difference between the culture their workplace claims to have compared to the reality.
The firm’s latest Mental Health Index found that the mental health of U.S. workers remains significantly strained. The score for August 2022 is 69.4 points out of 100, a modest improvement from July’s score of 68.9 with the lowest sub-score attributed to anxiety, at 62.3.
“Prioritizing a culture that supports health and wellbeing leads to stronger business results,” said Michael Dingle, TELUS Health chief operating officer, in a news release. “With a potential economic downturn ahead, creating and maintaining a positive culture combined with offering tangible support for employees is increasingly important in relation to improved mental health as well as corporate performance. It is critical for businesses to do more than simply say they have a positive working environment. They must take action to ensure employees feel supported so they can realize the reciprocal impacts on productivity.”
Workplace culture is impacting the productivity of workers
- More than half of all employees believe the work culture affects their productivity. The overall U.S. Workplace Culture Score, a rating based on responses to nine cultural indicators, is 68.7 out of 100, which correlates directly to both mental health and the level of productivity.
- Nearly half (46 percent) report that their workplace culture increases productivity. This group has the most favorable mental health score (72.0) and applies more energy to their work.
- Almost one in ten (9 percent) report that their workplace culture decreases productivity. The mental health score of this group is 56.3, which sits 13 points below the national average (69.4).
- Managers are 50 percent more likely than non-managers to indicate that their workplace culture increases their productivity.
Mental health is heavily influenced by realities of workplace culture
- The employee group that sees a strong disparity between the employer’s claim of a positive culture and their day-to-day reality, has a mental health score six points below the national average and almost 14 points below people who believe reality is aligned with employer claims.
- Those who say their workplace is uncaring or hostile have the lowest mental health scores (55.1), more than 21 points lower than those who consider the workplace supportive.
- Nine percent of respondents report their workplace culture does not promote inclusiveness. This group has a mental health score eight points below the national average.
“In prior Mental Health Index reports, we have highlighted data that shows employees who work for organizations that support mental health have better mental health scores than employees who work for organizations that don’t,” said Paula Allen, LifeWorks global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, in the release. “The current data clearly shows that, in addition to services and resources, workplace culture also plays a strong role. We have identified nine indicators that make a difference and can be improved with specific actions and behaviors that support wellbeing and enable each person to work at the top of their own scale.”