Life's Uncertainty Has Led To A Mental Health Crisis At Work
Life is simply changing too fast
In Oct. 2022, United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released guidelines for promoting employee mental health at work. Murthy's team developed the framework in response to alarming decreases in employee well-being. For instance, 76 percent of workers in 2021 reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, a 17 percent increase over the previous two years alone. Excessive stress costs us nearly $200 billion in medical payments each year, and more than 100 thousand unnecessary deaths. At work today, we are too unwell, too anxious, and too overwhelmed.
We hear, in parallel, about the changing nature of work—the rise of automation and the constancy of change. Volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity, snowballing faster and larger every day, threaten our well-being and productivity. There is no precedent for either the pace or the type of change we face at work today—what we call the twin trials. Yet, few, if any, approaches acknowledge and design around this new reality as a major contributor to diminished well-being.
Successfully navigating this pace and this type of uncertainty (not simply surviving, but also taking full advantage of it to thrive) requires a unique set of emotional, social, and cognitive skills. Understanding these two dimensions of challenge can prepare us to respond.
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