The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted employee health and wellbeing. The greater risk of physical health problems has impacted mental and financial wellbeing too.
A lot has been studied and reported about the impact of the pandemic on health and wellbeing. Also, the overall impact on employee mental health has been reported in many studies. However, less has been studied about the specific impact on the different working generations.
Transamerica published a study about the impact of the pandemic on different health and wellbeing aspects. In our previous blogs, we briefed the preferred employee wellness solutions and components and the retirement benefits trends,, Also, the impact on physical health of the different working generations was put forth in the study report.
In this blog, we give a glimpse of employee mental health across the four different working generations.
Transamerica Institute and its Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies examined the pandemic’s impact on employers, their response, and timely opportunities. On behalf of TI, The Harris Poll conducted the online survey from mid-November to the end of December 2020. The 10,192 respondents were from across the country. This particular report represents the data of 3,109 employees above 18 years of age who worked full-time or part-time potential respondents were business executives who made decisions about employee benefits at their company.
Depending on their age group, the respondents were broadly divided into 5 groups –
- Generation Z – Born 1997 to 2012 – 301 workers
- Millennial – Born 1981 to 1996 – 1,249 workers
- Generation X – Born 1965 to 1980 – 960 workers
- Baby Boomer – Born 1946 to 1964 – 573 workers
- Born before 1946 – 26 workers
Employee Mental Health Study Report
Despite having overall positive feelings regarding their health and wellbeing, they were finding it difficult to overcome them, especially regarding their physical, mental, and financial health. Here is more in detail about the employee mental health trends in the different working generations.
Happy and Distressed Employee Stats
Like for their physical health, most of the respondents had positive feelings regarding their emotional and mental health too. Almost 88% felt good about their social relationships with family and friends, 86% were happy in general, 82% felt they were enjoying their life, 82% felt they had a strong sense of purpose in their lives, and 64% agreed to have an active social life. On the other hand, a considerable amount of employees were also distressed for various reasons. 40% felt anxious and depressed, 39% felt overwhelmed, 37% had trouble with their daily needs, and 31% felt isolated.
Compared to the older generations, the younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z were more likely to feel anxious. 52% of Gen Z felt anxious and depressed, and 50% of Millennials felt the same way. Almost 59% of Gen Z and 48% of Millennials felt overwhelmed and unmotivated. 41% of Gen Z and 38% of Millennials felt isolated and lonely.
Concerned About Mental Health
Almost 60% of the respondents said they were concerned about their overall mental health. While 31% agreed to be ‘somewhat concerned,’ 29% were ‘very concerned.’ From the ‘over concerned’ group, 38% were Millennials, 36% were Gen Z, 27% were Gen X, and 14% were Baby Boomers.
We had written previously about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the different aspects of employee health and wellbeing, especially mental health and financial health. On the same lines, this study also reported that almost 84% of the respondents experienced anxiety due to one or more reasons during the pandemic. Around 68% cited health as one of the key reason for their anxiety. Out of them, 44% were anxious due to the fear of contracting COVID-19, 40% about their family’s health, and 32% about their own health.
Apart from health reasons, financial issues also caused anxiety. 33% were worried about an uncertain future, 32% about their finances, 23% over job insecurity, 17% regarding their daily expenses, and 16% about strained relationships.
Although workers across all working generations experienced some kind of anxiety during the pandemic, 91% of Gen Z and 88% of Millennials were more likely to cite its causes compared to 81% of Gen X and 78% of Baby Boomers. 53% each of Millennials and Gen Z cited financial reasons for their anxiety compared to the older generations. An uncertain future was also a key reason for anxiety amongst the Generation Z workers. On the other hand, 19% of Gen X and 22% of Baby Boomers said they did not experience any anxiety due to any reason during the pandemic.
Safeguarding Mental Health and Wellness
It is necessary to take the right measures to safeguard mental health and wellness. When asked what they were doing to protect their overall health and wellbeing –
- 56% – Eating healthy
- 55% – Exercising regularly
- 44% – Maintained a positive outlook
- 40% – Stress management
- 22% – Practising mindfulness and meditation
Employees and employers have adapted their day-to-day dynamics in line with the changing trends and requirements. Both are taking all the needed extra measures to protect their workplace wellness and employee wellbeing. Apart from redefining workplace policies and employee benefits packages, employers are also revisiting their employee wellness solutions to make sure their workforce makes the best use of it to be healthy, happy, and productive.