Mind, Body And Soul: How EHS Functions Can Minimize Burnout

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Mind, Body And Soul: How EHS Functions Can Minimize Burnout

Workplace burnout is occurring at an alarming rate, as workers feel like they face a constant demand to deliver to a high standard. Most employees have experienced this pressure at some point in their career, however recent global disruptions, such as COVID-19, have accelerated the trend further. Performance-related pressure, coupled with economic uncertainty and unpredictable job security, has fuelled employee anxiety and stress. Not only does this atmosphere harm workers’ wellbeing, but it also negatively impacts productivity and overall job performance. These factors, along with others around working conditions, contributed to the ‘Great Resignation’ in early 2021, when millions of employees chose to quit their jobs en masse. Societal changes have brought mental health and wellbeing into the spotlight, highlighting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. As a result, many firms have received criticism and are now facing increased pressure to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their workforce.

Typically, organizations have managed employee wellbeing through employee assistance programmes (EAPs). These services utilize various consultation methods including assessments, short-term counselling and referral services. However, these approaches are more reactive, offer poor coverage and lack specialist psychological therapists, leading to long waiting lists. Also suffering from a lack of awareness regarding their availability, these services have suffered from low adoption rates:  in 2018, the median utilization rate of EAPs in the US was only 5.5%.

What have firms done to combat these issues? Firstly, there has been a shift in business culture. According to McKinsey, senior executives report that workplace discussions about mental health are more frequent. Oil and gas conglomerate BP has noted a shift in employees’ willingness to disclose struggles with behavioural health issues. Unsurprisingly, there has been a rapid increase in the adoption of and investment in mental health programmes since employers started to consider mental health seriously.

To support firms with their increased responsibility, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued guidance standard ISO 45003. This provides practical advice on how to manage psychosocial risks in the workplace, supporting ISO 45001: an international standard for managing occupational health and safety. Although not a legal requirement, several national organizations including the BSI (British Standards Institute) have taken the standards on, issuing their own versions. These guidelines serve as a framework to build mental health and wellbeing management into an organization’s long-term strategy. Changes in workplace culture have undoubtedly been influential, but it is digital technology that has served as the major driver behind this shift.

EHS has now become a function that is increasingly responsible for, and striving towards, worker wellbeing. To this end, EHS technology is innovating to meet the need for better employee health management. Various deployment strategies include mental health and wellbeing providers integrating with software platforms, installing mobile applications and utilizing wearable technology. EHS software provider Cority, for example, partnered with mental health and wellbeing organization Highmark Interactive, which allows firms to monitor their workforce’s wellbeing through neurological performance indicators. More specifically, Highmark Interactive tracks key data through gamified assessments, measuring a user’s reaction time, reasoning, memory, balance and stress levels. Cority has also utilized Highmark’s telehealth functionality, which uses telecommunication and IT to provide remote health assessments and therapeutic interventions. Telehealth has gained traction since COVID-19, serving as a useful tool to monitor employees in hybrid or remote working environments. Yet, whether firms operate a fully remote, hybrid, or office-based model, they must continue to prioritize guidance, tools and strategies for supporting worker health – or risk another ‘Great Resignation’.

Zain Idris


Zain is an Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice out of the London office. His current research agenda focuses on, digitising permits to work, and EHS software for occupational health. Prior to working as an analyst, Zain worked as a summer intern at Verdantix, recording major mergers and acquisitions witnessed within each practice. Zain holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick.