Gartner research reveals that just under three in ten workers class themselves as depressed due to the pandemic.

New research by Gartner reveals the extend of mental health issues caused by the pandemic, with almost three in ten workers (28 per cent) stating they are depressed.

Simultaneously, the same study found that half of employees (49 per cent) whose organisation provided mental wellbeing programmes participated in this last year, revealing a sizeable amount of the workforce rely on this support.

Other ways that employers have attempted to help their staff during the pandemic include providing flexible work hours to employees acting as care givers for family members (87 per cent). Additionally, over a quarter (26 per cent) gave gave employees paid time off (PTO) for childcare and over a fifth (21 per cent) gave PTO for eldercare.

Despite all this extra support implemented,  only a quarter of organisations reported that they plan to maintain the programmes introduced during the pandemic for the foreseeable future. This could ultimately lead to a further decline in mental health, leaving vulnerable employees without adequate support.

As such, Gartner outlined several ways employers could aid their staff post-COVID.

The company advised that organisations should personalise support in order to meet diverse employee needs. This includes creating alignment between the support offered and the demands of employees.

This is a prevalent issue for employers with under half of the workforce (46 per cent) identifying their employer’s wellbeing programmes as personalised.

In order to improve this, Gartner suggests that HR can encourage employees to self-assess their well-being. Doing so allows employees to benchmark their wellbeing, map out a development plan and holds them accountable for their own wellness. Citing the issue that many employees do not engage or understand the benefits on offer to them, this route encourages employees to seek out help or wellbeing services that firm already provides.

In addition, the research further encourages HR teams to have a plan for enabling discussion during times of disruption.

Specifically, it states that HR leaders should have programs, processes and guidance in advance of whatever unexpected event comes next. These efforts should empower employees to discuss subjects they may otherwise be nervous to bring up, including mental health issues, resolving tension between employees and emotional health issues.

Carolina Valencia, vice president in the Gartner HR practice, said:

The need for well-being support has skyrocketed since the pandemic struck, giving organisations a new mandate to offer more and better programmes. Organisations, more than ever, must respond to all facets of the individual, from the physical to the emotional, and address some of the new stressors that have emerged over the past year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear to employers and employees that work and life cannot be treated as two separate constructs.

If employers help support employees with all aspects of their health during turbulent times more effectively, not only do they have better lives, but they perform at a higher level. In fact, organizations that provide holistic well-being support can boost employee discretionary effort by 21 per cent, twice as much as companies that provide only traditional (physical and financial) programmes.


*Gartner surveyed over 5,000 employees during the final quarter of 2020 to obtain this research. Gartner clients can read more in the report “Support Well-Being in 2021 and Beyond”.