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Latest survey into Covid & workplace mental health shows an optimistic outlook for once the crisis has passed

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According to fresh research from the workforce training course comparison site CoursesOnline, 66% of employees think that moving forward, more time and resources will be dedicated to mental health in the workplace due to Covid. This data comes from an anonymous survey of UK employees from 300 companies carried out since the New Year which sought to identify attitudes towards mental wellbeing and how they have been shaped throughout the pandemic in advance of Time to Talk Day on February 4th.

Key findings

  • 66% of workers agree that mental health will benefit from greater time and resources in the long-term after Covid
  • However, 40% of workplaces are yet to implement any new mental health policies in response to the pandemic
  • 10% of respondents stated that if they had a mental health concern, then they would not speak to anyone about it
  • Of the other 90%, 63% would prefer to talk things through with a friend or family member before doing so with someone at work

If you had a mental health concern today, who would be the first person that you would speak to about it?

From those surveyed who replied that they would not discuss their mental health concerns with anyone, 13% of men agreed with this statement as opposed to just 8% of women. 70% of women stated that they would turn first to friends or family and whilst most men agreed, it was only 54% who did so. 18% of men also expressed a preference for talking things through with their Line Manager, more so than the 8% of women who did so.

Which of the following mental health policies has your workplace implemented in response to Covid?

Of the 60% of organisations who have opted to bring in new policies to address Covid related mental health issues, the most popular approaches were to assign responsibility for such matters to either an in house or external specialist, with 18% and 19% of respondents opting for these respective approaches. There was less enthusiasm for increasing time off for employees with mental health concerns (10% of respondents) and placing a greater emphasis on existing staff/management discussions (13%). 

The costs of not investing in your employees mental health

Speaking about the findings from their survey, CoursesOnline’s General Manager Sarah-Jane McQueen drew attention to the duty employers have to invest in their people.

“For the 40% of organisations not looking to do more in regards to mental health, there is a strong business case for them rethinking their approach – not to mention that there is a clear expectation from the majority of workers that some form of action is taken. Regardless of where or how you operate, mental health issues account for a significant proportion of days off so I would think that firms would be keen to gain back some of this productivity if nothing else.”

What can you do to combat mental health issues in the workplace?

Ultimately there are many different options through which organisations can look to address mental health issues and everyone will have their own preference. At the Learning People for instance, they have experimented numerous initiatives which others may look to adopt such as:

  • Creating an employee wellbeing group with a wellbeing rep nominated from each team to be the wellbeing spokesperson
  • All members of the employee wellbeing group are Mental Health Awareness trained by ‘Mind’ to ensure they know how to spot the signs of poor mental health and provide support where necessary
  • Participation in Time to Talk Day – providing conversation starter cards and cakes to all employees to raise awareness of the importance of talking to others
  • Regular calls with HR for all employees who are working from home and more frequent calls with those who require additional mental health support
  • Discounted gym and fitness schemes due to the link between good physical and mental health

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