Despite the pandemic taking a toll on mental health, many employers report that the mental health provisions provided by their company have actually improved since the start of the pandemic.
Over a third (36 per cent) of UK employers say that the mental health and wellbeing support they offer has improved as a result of the pandemic.
Blurred boundaries between work and life have been well documented throughout the crisis, leading to a rise in mental health issues such as anxiety and burnout for some of the population.
A recent report by Nuffield Health suggested that over two-fifths of people in the UK (41 per cent) have seen a decline in their mental health due to the pandemic.
This research carried out by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service suggests that many companies are aware of the wellbeing issues and are taking key steps to support staff during this time.
The majority of employers (50 per cent), however, did feel that wellbeing provisions had stayed the same whilst almost one in 10 (9 per cent) suggested wellbeing and mental health support had actually gotten worse over the past year.
It is unclear whether employees would voice the same opinion. Over a third of UK staff (37 per cent) want their employers to be more proactive in making resources available on how to boost mental and physical wellbeing.
Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, stated providing this help was a necessary step for businesses to take:
The pandemic has been a challenging period for everyone and it’s great to see that over a third of bosses have managed to improve their organisation’s mental health support for their staff.
However, nearly 1 in 10 employers have seen this support deteriorate so it is important for businesses to invest in the wellbeing of their workers as they open up again.
As such, Acas offered key advice on how employers can help to aid the mental health and wellbeing of their staff going forward:
- Be approachable and available -Encouraging team members to talk to you if they’re having problems
- Keep in regular contact with your team – This will allow you to check how they are coping
- Be understanding towards the concerns and needs of your staff while they work in new or unexpected ways – for example, working from home or managing childcare while working
- Addressing any individual communication preferences – Including asking team members if they prefer to talk over the phone, through video meetings or by email
- Looking after your own mental health and get support if you feel under more pressure than usual – This support could be a colleague at work, a mental health network or a counsellor