Business leaders have been urged to commit 5% of their working hours to maintaining good mental health at work in an ‘action-orientated manner’.
Health firm Cigna has challenged business leaders to make the “5% pledge”, a public commitment to allocate a proportion of their working hours to changing organisational cultures to address the issue of staff wellbeing, citing its research from earlier this year that found 88% of employees globally are suffering from burnout.
More recently, the cost-of-living crisis has been taking a toll on employee mental health, with a Personio survey finding more two-thirds of employees are feeling worried or stressed about their ability to pay for essentials and a similar study from Lattice revealing that 85% of workers feel employers should play a role in mental health and wellbeing support.
Cigna said that action to improve employee mental health needed to come from the top of organisations.
Employee mental health
The company’s European CEO, Arjan Toor, is the first to take the pledge. The company said it would encourage its clients to demonstrate their commitment to employee mental health.
Toor said: “We want to motivate business leaders globally to take the 5% Pledge so we can create a community of like-minded leaders to work together to drive positive change.
“Bosses need to be part of this transformation as active agents – they need to be seen to use their voice and stature to help all departments feel comfortable embracing the change and to build a supportive workplace, one where it’s sometimes ok not to be ok.”
Geoff McDonald, founder of charity Minds@Work, is supporting the campaign. He said: “Covid has really accelerated the conversation about mental health and wellbeing in the C suite, and has in many ways, ‘democratised’ mental ill health.
“As we come out the other side of the pandemic, it’s important that organisations recognise the true impact they can have on the mental health and wellbeing of their people by addressing every fabric of the company culture and creating an environment where employees feel safe and supported.”