This is interesting research out of the UK, and it really kind of makes sense if we think about it. For all of the well-intentioned programs being offered by HR across all industries, and other countries, they all contain one fundamental flaw:
Offering a solution based on his findings, the conference was told that intervention cannot continue to be at employee level, and that management must take responsibility for addressing employee mental health.
The flaw, of course, is that they all require the employee to add something else to their to-do list. You can offer wellness classes, apps, a yoga space in the office, etc. but if the workplace doesn’t make any change beyond that, you’re asking employees who are struggling to find time to take care of themselves amidst the pressures of their workload, family, etc. to somehow find time for something else.
You do see the problem here, right? As an employee, great that there’s a webinar planned on stress management, but if I now have to work an hour later that day in order to attend the webinar, it’s not helping. Lots of HR departments are making tools available, but managers are still expecting the same amount of work, with the same crazy deadlines and expectations, from a likely short-staffed team, so who has time to use them?
So they don’t help. Not because they aren’t helpful, but because you’ve made self-care and wellbeing yet another thing for your employees to do.
Employee burnout does not exist solely because your employees haven’t figured out how to meditate. It’s systemic to our way of doing business. Unless that changes, we’re just rearranging deck chairs.