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3 in 10 say their workplace harms mental health

NEW YORK: Companies around the globe have work to do to improve worker satisfaction because only three in 10 employees say their workplace is psychologically safe and healthy, according to a new poll.

Whether it is due to stress, interpersonal conflict, frustration, lack of feedback or promotion, 27 percent of workers in 24 countries said they are not happy with the psychological aspects of their work environment, the survey by research company Ipsos for Reuters showed.

“Employers need to pay attention to their employees’ mental health, not just their physical health,” said Alexandra Evershed, senior vice president, Ipsos Public Affairs.

“Three in 10 is still a fairly large proportion and that goes up to 44 percent and 43 percent in Argentina and Mexico and 42 percent in Hungary,” Evershed said.

Nearly half, 47 percent, of the total of 14,618 workers polled agreed that their workplace was “a psychologically safe and healthy environment to work in” and 26 percent hovered on the fence and weren’t sure.

Although many North Americans have fewer holidays than Europeans and may work longer hours and enjoy fewer social services, Americans and Canadians had the highest marks for positively assessing the mental health of their workplace, followed by workers in India, Australia, Great Britain and South Africa.

Evershed suggested that the improving economies in some countries could have played a part in the positive assessment among employees.

“It’s better than it was,” she said in an interview. “India, China, Brazil, South Africa, these are countries where the economic picture has been brightening.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 15, 2012, on page 12.

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