No More Isolation

The Weekly Wave

March 15, 2023

This week, social isolation exacerbates mental health issues, lower-wage workers get the biggest salary increases, and spreadsheets are sexy.

New data suggests that mental health symptoms are worse for hybrid and remote workers. As a Benefits Administrator who serves 10,000 + employees who are spread across the United States, I have also noticed some of these trends in my day-to-day work.

It is time to rethink how we address this very serious, costly, and sometimes deadly issue.

Read more about this in the Deep Dive Section of this Newsletter.

In the News

Wages have increased disproportionately for low-wage earners. (The Atlantic

  • Can the trend continue without boosting inflation and negating these gains? (North State Journal)

Once again, the US economy exceeded job growth expectations, adding 311,000 jobs. (CNN)

Women are returning to the workplace and it is helping the economy. (Washington Post)

More disabled individuals are landing jobs. (SHRM)

Other News:

USAA has become the latest employer to close the door on remote positions. (San Antonio Current)

What is narcissism? Brene Brown provides her take. (Medium)

A Deeper Dive – Mental Health at Work

“Freedom, oh freedom. Well that’s just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone.”

– The Eagles – ‘Desperado’

According to a new survey, 38 % of hybrid workers and 40% of remote workers report symptoms of anxiety or depression. (Integrated Benefits Institute) This compares to 35% of in-person workers. 

Lonely girl

The survey also found that rates of anxiety and depression were 38% for women and 33% for men. This comes around the same time that the CDC dropped a bombshell update about the perilous state of teenage mental health, especially girls. (CDC) Those data show that from 2011 to 2021, teenage girls who felt persistently sad or hopeless skyrocketed from 36% to 57%. By contrast, teenage boys increased from 21% to 29%.

This was covered in a previous edition of ‘The Weekly Wave.’

The Workplace

Another data point, worthy of attention is the increase in leave of absence requests at work. (BenefitsPro) This is attributed to many factors, including (until recently) Covid-19 leave requests, along with other emerging issues during the pandemic. (Littler Law

One of the clearest factors leading to this increase in leaves from work is mental health, especially in workplaces that skew young and female. (Agenda Alliance)

The Fix

We all know a fix is needed but no one knows what to do. Most people say that we need more ‘mental health awareness,’ more ‘inclusivity,’ and more health and wellness programs in the workplace. We might as well show that we care by doing something. So why not?

These sorts of initiatives carry little-to-no downside and they sound empathetic, so most people are on board.

However, we are doing our young people a grave disservice if we end our analysis here. The consequences of throwing our hands up in the air and saying “it’s unclear” like so many of our thought leaders do are dire. There is an elephant in the room and that elephant is getting bigger every day. 

Human beings do not perform well when they are in isolation. It is time to say it out loud.

What I’m Reading

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere – Kevin Carey

  • This book makes a compelling case that college as an institution was built upon a conveniently self-serving foundation. For the most part, the institution of higher learning exists to serve itself, rather than to serve students.

Buy it! You know you want to.

Quote of the Week

“Beliefs are hypotheses to be tested not treasures to be protected.” 

– Phillip Tetlock

Articles of the Week

Death can teach us about living life to the fullest. (Athena Wellness)

A spreadsheet is by far the sexiest way to track expenses. (Len Penzo)

Workaholism is real. (Making Sense of Cents)

From Deep Dive Careers: 3 Steps to an Effective Job Application

  • This is the first ever post on the Deep Dive Careers blog. It describes the simple and repeatable 3 step process to prepare any job application that will save you time when job searching.

Other Fun Stuff

If you could work in an office like this would you ever want to work from home? (TLNT)

Could religious affiliation be making a comeback among young people? (Reddit Thread)

Dad Joke of the Week

Dada says: 

~ A word of dating advice (for dads with daughters) ~

“If he doesn’t appreciate your fruit jokes. You need to let that mango.”

*This post may contain affiliate links. These help financially support the Deep Dive Careers platform.
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