iStock Research Reinforces Global Demand to Visualize Workplace Mental Health

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iStock, a leading e-commerce platform providing premium content to SMBs, SMEs, creatives, and students everywhere, has released new research showing that 68% of people globally believe that companies have an obligation to implement policies and provide employees with mental health support at work. This is an important factor for businesses to consider when choosing visuals that promote positive wellbeing practices during Mental Health Awareness Month and beyond.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, research from VisualGPS, iStock’s creative insights platform, shows that more people now believe that focusing on their mental health (45%) is of greater importance than their physical health (43%). For businesses wanting to foster a supportive work environment, using the right images, videos and illustrations can help de-stigmatize mental health issues, reshape our understanding of how and when to seek help, and communicate new policies to employees.

Workers are looking for ways to make their jobs better suit them and their lifestyles, as three-quarters of employees feel that achieving a good work-life balance is more of a priority now than it was pre-pandemic. In terms of future work arrangements, 84% agree that companies should allow people to continue working remotely after the pandemic is over, and 46% would like to see employers put their attention toward policies that allow flexible working arrangements.

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“Our research shows that people are looking for their employers to provide some flexibility to promote a culture that is advocating positive mental health practices in the long-term,” said Dr. Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at iStock. “This presents an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to reconsider how they communicate any changes to the workplace, such as flexible hours and office arrangements, through the language and visuals they use to ensure they are aligned with their team’s wants and needs.”

iStock’s visual experts have provided some tips for small and medium-sized business owners to keep in mind when communicating to employees about mental health:

Encourage healthy practices: Promote positive mental health practices in visual storytelling by depicting people taking breaks from digital devices, decompressing by spending time outdoors, doing something manual or tending to caretaking duties at home. These visuals should help businesses show their commitment to staff wellbeing.

Foster connectivity among employees: According to VisualGPS, 66% of employees miss the social interactions of an office, while 61% are eager to resume in-person interactions with colleagues immediately. Employers should consider using images, videos and illustrations that show workers connecting with colleagues, socializing in a physical workspace or catching up outside a traditional work setting.

Promote an inclusive workplace: VisualGPS research shows that 56% feel that their employer is doing everything they can to be more diverse and inclusive in hiring new staff and promotions across the business, indicating that more can be done on these efforts. Think about including people from a wide range of ages, body types, ethnicity, genders, or any combination of these in your images, videos and illustrations.

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