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Creating a Healthier Work Environment: The Role of Flexibility and Support in Workplace Mental Health

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer
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As we continue through Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the broader trends influencing mental health in the workplace. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen the landscape of work shift dramatically. It seems like every other week I see organizations shifting gears on their policies for in-the-office and remote work, which can be anxiety-inducing. At the same time, I think the pandemic reminded a lot of people that we work to live, not live to work, and we’re finally starting to see companies think with that approach. At PAN, these are things that we’ve been navigating and continuing to fine-tune every day.  

I recently came across some interesting statistics from IWG, the global leader in workspace solutions, that helped reaffirm all we’re doing at PAN. The study of more than 2,000 hybrid workers found: 

  • Hybrid workers are exercising for almost 90 minutes more per week than before the pandemic 
  • Reduced commutes have led to an extra 71 hours of sleep per year 
  • Almost a quarter of hybrid workers reported they lost 20 pounds or more 

But what’s most interesting to me is that an AMAZING 66% of hybrid workers report their mental health has improved due to the shift in hybrid working, with 81% attributing this to increased personal time. I see it with our employees. I live it with my lifestyle. But to see these staggering statistics makes me so happy we made a shift to Hyflex. 

In case you’re unfamiliar, during the pandemic, we learned our employees could thrive in a 100% remote work setup. This led us to adopt the Hyflex work model, which provides our employees with the ultimate flexibility. Many team members now use the time that was previously commuting time for personal and professional growth. Since adopting Hyflex, we’ve only leaned into it more, and we continue to deliver exceptional results to our clients while supporting our team’s diverse needs and lifestyles.  

Hyflex certainly comes with its challenges. I think a lot of companies who deem a hybrid work environment a failure haven’t set up the right programs to ensure employees get the time and attention they need, even if their managers don’t see them every day. This was a big focus for us. We didn’t want employees to carry a bigger mental load than there had to be when working in a different location from their managers.  

With this, one of PAN’s standout benefits is our dedicated focus on employee career growth and development. Our entire organization is committed to nurturing our people, recognizing that they are at the heart of everything we do. Through our dedicated vice president (VP) model, each employee receives from a VP personalized guidance and support focused on their growth. This approach was instilled long before the pandemic, but its impact has become even more tremendous as we’ve shifted to a more flexible work environment. It helps ensure everyone at PAN has the resources and mentorship they need to thrive.   

We also have doubled down on training, education, and development (TE&D). We continue to refine our approach to furthering our employees’ personal and professional wellness and skill sets. I never want an employee to feel stuck in their role and our amazing TE&D program helps with this. It helps our employees stay ahead in their careers and allows us to ensure we’re always grooming our talent for anything that comes our way.  

Lastly, and this one is most near to my heart, we encourage every single person to bring their whole self to work. This philosophy is integral to our culture at PAN, where we celebrate individuality and authenticity. By creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported, we enable our team members to perform at their best and help to maintain their mental health.  

Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of mental well-being. I’m proud of the progress PAN has made in this area and eager to see what my exceptional team comes up with in the future. By continuing to evolve and adapt our workplace practices, we aim to set a standard for a healthier, more flexible, and supportive work environment. As we recognize Mental Health Awareness Month, let us continue to prioritize mental health in the workplace, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to live their truth and bring their whole self to work. 

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