MensHealth anonymously interviewed 1,200 of its readers – from company founders and executive directors to junior employees and interns.
Here’s what they learnt: while we all have certain difficulties specific to our line of work, or level of seniority, we are surprisingly united when it comes to our mental well-being. Managers struggle with the same anxieties that afflict their junior charges. Construction workers suffer a similar breed of pressure and uncertainty to school teachers.
Overall, more than half of you have experienced a mental health problem which you feel was linked to your job. A full 44% know just what it’s like to be overcome with anxiety so destabilising that it’s impossible to function at work. Your most commonly stated causes of workplace unhappiness? Long hours, lack of recognition from your employers and unreasonable targets.
But while it seems we’re perfectly adept when it comes to identifying the problems facing us, the bigger challenge comes in knowing how – and with whom – to share them. Of those of you who have taken time off work to look after your mental health, only half have been totally honest with your managers about the reason for your absence.
There’s also some scepticism with regards to whether or not the companies you work for truly have your best interests at heart. While half of you are aware of your workplace operating some form of employee well-being programme, 30% of you “strongly agree” that your employers are falling short on delivering what’s required of them. A few of you commented that you feel your company’s well-being policy is merely an exercise in “box-ticking” – designed to show willingness without creating meaningful change.