Executive Summary 

The American workforce was tested in 2020 when COVID-19, a multifaceted threat, attacked our health, way of life and peace of mind. The acute effects of the virus included prolonged financial insecurity and social isolation, which remain chronic. Simultaneously, technology that was still emerging quickly became part of standard business practices. Together, these events caused significant stress and burnout that affected nearly every American worker and, by extension, the companies that employ them.

The impact of this stress will be felt over time, as eroded health and wellness coupled with fatigue and distraction create personal costs to individuals and collective costs to companies and society. As employees suffer from stress, organizations will face higher healthcare costs, elevated rates of absenteeism and turnover, and lower productivity due to distraction.

Financially and ethically, it is imperative that companies address employee stress. Organizations must develop practices that help employees build resilience and encourage wellness — financially, mentally and physically.

By reviewing relevant research on stress-related pathologies from Dr. Eva Szigethy and Dr. Sansea Jacobson at UPMC, and leveraging internal expertise from PNC Organizational Financial Wellness, Solebury Trout and the Responsible Investing team at PNC Asset Management, we explore what organizations can do to help their employees build resilience and deliver wellness to their teams.

Companies that support their employees’ wellness and make systemic changes will benefit from improved performance, enhanced employee engagement and the potential for better stock market performance.

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The Business and Ethical Imperative for Holistic Workplace Wellness