CEI Well-Being Series, Panel #1: Supporting the Mental Wellbeing of Young Professionals in an Online Work Environment

Oct 21, 2022 | #WellBeing

by Addy Strickland |

On March 23, 2022, this panel, hosted by the CEI, brought together Stacie Smith, Tess Etienne, and Hailey Vidler to discuss the unique challenges that young professionals face while working online, and how employers can best support them through those challenges. Below, you’ll find the full panel recording, a list of key take-aways, and a list of panelist-suggested resources for further learning. 

Our Key Take-Aways:  

  • When talking about the mental health of young professionals working online, everyone is different – there is no one-size-fits-all approach.  
  • Vulnerabilities that existed for young people before the pandemic have been amplified. Research shows that youth were already having trouble meeting basic needs, experiencing low time-adequacy, losing trust in institutions, and dealing with social isolation pre-pandemic.  
  • Work doesn’t always need to be a space of connection, but we should make sure that there are opportunities there for those who want it to be. Having those conversations around what people need to feel connected is important, as having that information can help us respond accordingly. Our panelists have built or found connection in their workplaces through:  
        • Hosting daily, unstructured check-ins 
        • Making space for the regular office talk that would happen in person 
        • Fostering common goals 
        • Learning about what young people are interested in outside of work 
    • We don’t spend a solid eight hours working when we’re in the office – we make time for conversation, or getting coffee – so why do we expect that from youth working from home?  
    • Employers should lead by example when it comes to setting boundaries—don’t send that text at 8pm, because it tells your employees that you expect them to also be working at unreasonable hours (if that is something you expect, maybe that’s a sign you need to take a break!).  
    • None of us know what we’re doing all the time–even senior leadership! Be transparent about it. 
    • Taking mental health days without having to disclose the full details of why is important. 
    • Let your employees keep their cameras off – requiring cameras on can instill a lack of trust, and the act of staring at yourself on the computer has caused an increase in eating disorders, anxiety, and depression among youth. 
    • A livable wage is one of the biggest factors in supporting positive mental health. Young people who experience low mental wellbeing also often note that they can’t pay for food or rent, don’t have the time to be themselves, get enough sleep, etc. We need to understand the world in which our youth colleagues are coming from. 

    Panelist-Suggested Resources for Further Learning:  

    Addy Strickland

    Addy Strickland

    Youth Engagement Specialist


    Addy Strickland is the lead researcher and writer of the CEI’s Youth Engagement Framework. Addy joined the CEI team in July 2021 with more than 10 years of experience in youth-led spaces. She adopts a story-based, first-voice approach to youth engagement, and is working to foster welcoming, youth-friendly spaces both within the CEI and the field of career and employment development more broadly. Prior to working for the CEI, Addy graduated from StFX University with an Honours degree in Development Studies, where she focused on using art and story as tools for community development and social change.