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How to Create Mattering at Work

By | Zach Mercurio, PhD |

Last month, the U.S. Surgeon General named “mattering at work” a top priority for improving mental health. The announcement reaffirms what we’ve known for many years: Mattering and well-being are inseparable, especially where humans spend 35% of their waking lives.

The official call to prioritize mattering at work is the culmination of several conspiring forces reshaping what work means to and in our lives.

Survey research shows that the pandemic prompted people to reflect more on the quality of their jobs and their lives. Data from the past two years indicate that people left their jobs not for more pay, benefits, or flexibility but largely because of disrespectful cultures, non-inclusive climates, and uncaring leaders.

People deemed “essential” workers are now asking, “Do I feel essential?” We’re experiencing compounding health and job insecurity. The unemployed are returning to work, with studies showing that feelings of worthlessness constitute a significant risk factor for those transitioning from joblessness. Feelings of being forgotten and loneliness are at an all-time high amidst rising calls for social justice and inclusion.

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