There has been an increase in mental health issues since Covid-19 lockdowns amongst office workers according to 73 percent of HR professionals. 

The study by Samten, a mindfulness app, spoke to around 1,000 HR professionals about the impact of COVID-19 on the mental wellbeing of their workforce.

It also found that nearly 30 percent of organisations had seen a 25 percent increase in staff reporting mental health challenges. 

 

HRreview research

69 percent of organisations believed they could be doing more for employee wellbeing, which ties into HRreview research. 

77 percent of HR professionals told Samten they believed mindfulness and meditation during work hours could help improve focus and productivity in the workplace. 

While, 42 percent said reduced anxiety or depression was the main reason they regularly practiced mindfulness and meditation. 37 percent said they saw a reduction in stress from doing so. 

Simon Delve, CEO of Samten said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging from a mental health perspective, particularly when considering new variants and consistent changes to rules and restrictions.”

He encouraged organisations to be open to staff practising mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress as one way of displaying empathy to retain staff. 

“It comes as no surprise to me that most organisations are experiencing a vast increase in staff members reporting mental health concerns, with most HRs advising more could be done in terms of wellbeing initiatives and support. The situation is knowing where to start and taking the first small step to help their employees.”

 

Disabled employees

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, people with disabilities have been impacted more than others since the start of the pandemic. 

3.4 million disabled workers said they felt like they are a burden on others, which demonstrates the importance of HR in this arena by helping to promote equal opportunities and creating a positive work environment. 

Almost half of disabled people – 46 percent – said that Covid-19 made their mental health worse.

57 percent said they were worried about the future, while 67 percent said they were more stressed than before the lockdowns. 

This highlights the need for HR departments to create better and more inclusive policies around mental health for all staff. 

 

HRreview poll

Alistair Dornan from Gallagher, who was on an HRreview webinar, urged employers to “be consistent in how you look after staff and put in place good systems to manage employee wellbeing.”

In a Gallagher report, more than 76 percent of companies said they offered Employee Assistance Programmes, which catered to health and wellbeing. Meanwhile, in a poll during the webinar, more than 85 percent of respondents told HRreview they could be doing more for employee wellbeing.

Alistair also advised companies to create and implement a stress and wellbeing policy. He said: “So many businesses are opening themselves to risk by not having a wellbeing and stress management policy and training line managers”