Though it may look easy from the other side of the counter, working a job in fast food can be stressful. Between impatient, unruly customers, unconventional hours, and very low wages in many places, the work can wear anyone down.
In recognition of that, Chipotle recently announced its plan to extend access to mental healthcare/wellness (as well as financial counseling) to more than 80,000 of its employees. Starting in 2020, Chipotle’s workers and their families will have access to “mental health and emotional support” which will be available “through in-person, phone or virtual visits with a licensed counselor to support personal, professional, mental, financial and/or legal concerns.”
Chipotle’s plan is also honest about the fact that finances can end up stressing out its team members, as the press release cites a PWC study which found that money is the greatest source of stress in the lives of people. They see mental health and financial wellness as intertwined, citing the introduction of this program alongside its announcement of debt-free college assistance (with some strings attached, of course) as a way to alleviate some of the economic burdens its employees face.
To the Chipotle higher-ups, a focus on mental health is part of a commitment to building the best possible workforce.
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"This is just the beginning of how we're strategically investing in the well-being of our employees and their families," Marissa Andrada, Chipotle's Chief People Officer, said in the press release. "Our vision for people is to create a culture where employees can thrive and pursue their passion and by extending access to all levels and enriching our Employee Assistance Program, we are ensuring that our employees can build mental fitness and bring their best selves to work every day."
Of course, raising employee wages would probably go a long way towards solving the mental health issues exacerbated by their financial situation, but at least this is a good start. Hopefully other fast food chains make an earnest commitment to follow suit.