Chamber News

Workforce Report | Mental Health Matters

March 23rd, 2023

If you feel you are spending a LOT of time at work, you are correct! According to the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD), the U.S. workforce is the most “overworked” among similar nations and economies. 

According to OECD stats, U.S. workers work an average of 1,791 hours per year versus an OECD country average of 1,716. This is 442 more hours per year than German workers, 294 more hours per year than United Kingdom (U.K.) workers, 301 more hours per year than French workers, and 184 more hours per year than Japanese workers. Of all OECD countries, only the workers in Chile, Mexico, Greece, Korea, and Costa Rica average more hours worked per year. Zero industrialized nations are without a mandatory option for new parents to take parental leave. That is, except for the United States.

With all these hours spent on the job, how can businesses best support a tired and over-extended workforce? To start, business leaders can improve mental health and wellness outcomes for their employees by rethinking the roles and responsibilities of the employer. 

 Viewing mental health as a collective priority versus an individual need is a great starting point. Companies can no longer classify mental health as an individual’s responsibility to address alone through self-care, mental health days, or employee benefits. 

The American Psychological Association suggests the following when evaluating your current workplace:

  • Train front-line managers and supervisors to promote health and well-being among your associates.
  • If possible, increase employee options on where, when, how, and when work is done.
  • Reexamine health insurance offerings to include a focus on the mental health and well-being of the employee and their family.
  • Listen to what employees need and act on it. Survey your team!
  • Take a critical look at equity, inclusion, and diversity policies.
  • Develop programs and policies that support and promote employees’ mental health and wellness.

    At the Columbus Chamber, we initiated A Better U.S. in early 2021. A Better U.S. is an internal offering for our team to provide educational resources that encourage physical, emotional, and mental health and wellness to our Chamber associates. This is achieved through monthly Lunch and Learns and articles/support provided on our intranet. 

    The presentations have included the importance of getting outside and utilizing our City’s green spaces, recognizing and treating eating disorders, identifying and providing resources for those suffering from substance abuse, and many more. Contact us for more information on connecting to the incredible wellness resources available locally.

    Kelly Fuller 
    Vice President of Talent & Workforce Development