75% of Gen Z staff advocate for better mental health benefits and flexibility

benefits mental health flexibilityThree-quarters (75%) of Generation Z employees have advocated for benefits to be inclusive of better mental health support, have flexibility around working hours and greater accessibility, according to research by sleep and meditation app Calm.

Its Voice of the workplace report 2024, which surveyed more than 4,000 employees and HR leaders, also found that Generation X and Boomer staff are the least proactive when advocating for benefits or changes in the workplace, with Gen Z and millennials 47% more likely than Gen X and Boomers to have advocated for workplace changes.

A majority (93%) of HR and benefits leaders said developing caring managers is important for a mentally healthy workplace, while 77% recognised that financial anxiety is affecting mental health and want to address this in the next one-to-two years.

Employers’ current top strategies included encouraging managers to include wellbeing check-ins in their one-to-ones (56%), ensuring they evaluate and reprioritise workloads to ensure work-life balance (54%), and creating work-life boundaries (51%).

Meanwhile, their top strategies in the next one-to-two years included developing mindful managers (30%), and training them to recognise mental distress (29%) and speak openly about mental health (29%).

Additionally, 90% of female employees said health challenges and experiences, such as fertility treatments, menopause, egg freezing and miscarriage, impact their overall mental health, as well as their ability to be productive and focus at work.

More than 40% said the constant pressure to be always available contributes to a decline in mental health, and 52% are actively looking for an additional source of income to get through the cost-of-living crisis.

A Calm spokesperson said: “Employers cited women’s mental health as a new benefits focus area in the next one-to-two years, including providing mental health support related to infertility, pregnancy, and menopause. Our research reveals that employees have high mental health needs in these life stages, yet they encounter little employer support and even stigma. Providing a day-to-day self-care tool can help women better manage their stress, [anxiety] and sleep issues.”