Wall Street Journal
Q. Thank you for your column, “The Most Anxious Generation Goes to Work.” Are employers expanding stress-management programs and, if so, in what areas?
A. Companies are increasing anxiety- and stress-relieving benefits in two areas. Some one in five employers have expanded workplace wellness offerings since 2015, including such stress-management programs as meditation and mindfulness practice, on-site massage, nap rooms and quiet rooms for personal use at the office, according to a recent survey of 2,763 HR specialists by the Society for Human Resource Management. Wellness benefits are among the fastest-growing programs, with 58 percent of employers offering help in this area.
Also, the share of employers offering assistance repaying student loan debt has doubled in the past year, to 8 percent from 4 percent in 2018, the SHRM survey shows. Anxiety about repaying student loans is a major reason employees age 20 to 29 call their companies’ employee assistance program, says Rich Chaifetz, chairman and CEO of ComPsych, a Chicago employee assistance provider. Many young workers are daunted by the responsibilities they face when moving into new apartments and new jobs, Dr. Chaifetz says. “They get hit by the reality: ‘Oh my God, this is what I’m going to earn, and this is the burden of debt that I have,’” he says. ComPsych also offers referrals to financial advisers, attorneys and other sources of financial planning help.