The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on both employers and employees, especially when it comes to mental health. While the initial lockdowns and social restrictions have taken their toll, we are now faced with an extended period of social isolation.
Furthermore, once a semblance of normality has resumed, people are going to be naturally wary of going about their daily lives once more. This in itself has the potential to be a source of anxiety and concern.
Add to this heightened concerns relating to job security and financial wellbeing and it’s easy to see how people’s mental health could actually suffer more before it improves. That’s why employers need to be constantly looking out for signs of mental ill health and have policies and procedures in place to deal with it in the most helpful way.
With increasing pressure being placed on the NHS, employers will likely be looking to their employers to support their mental health and wellbeing through suitable benefits, initiatives and programmes. However, with many employees currently furloughed or working remotely, reaching out and identifying mental health issues is more challenging than ever for managers.
As a result, many employers will have adapted their mental health offerings to reflect the new normal, including providing additional support for managers.
Employers are stepping up
Research published this month by Business in the Community (BITC), in partnership with Bupa, the BITC Wellbeing Leadership team and YouGov, reveals that employees think they have been well-supported by their employers throughout the pandemic. Indeed, while 41% of workers said they have experienced a work-related mental health issue in the last year, almost two-thirds believe that their employer has recognised the impact of Covid-19 on staff.
In fact, the research also shows a shift in attitudes, with 76% of employees saying their colleagues are being considerate of mental wellbeing, with 69% thinking the same of line managers.
The focus now should be on ensuring this mental health drive continues long after the pandemic is over. While the pandemic has caused chaos and uncertainty, it has also acted as a much-needed trigger for employers to put mental health support at the top of their agendas.
Organisations that continue this support going forward will not only benefit from a healthier workforce, but also position themselves as an employer that people want to work for. The good news is that businesses do not need to reinvent the wheel. There are a plethora of employee benefits out there that are designed to support mental health. The key is discovering them and identifying which ones will afford the most value to both organisation and individual.
Are you currently providing the mental health support your employees need? If you’re not (or not sure), please contact Premier Choice and we can discuss what options would be right for both you and your employees.
Claire Ginnelly is the Managing Director of Premier Choice Health and has been in the private medical insurance industry since 1991. All her experience has been gained working for large insurance companies managing the distribution of health insurance products through intermediaries. She has held senior positions within Standard Life Healthcare, as Head of Intermediary Sales, and Groupama Healthcare, as Head of Distribution.