Employers concerned about long-term mental health impact of pandemic

95% of organisations offer some form of mental wellbeing education

One in five (21%) employers are concerned about helping staff manage the long-term mental health impact of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, according to a WorkLife by OpenMoney survey.

The study, carried out from 14 to 22 March 2021, polled 750 UK senior financial and HR decision makers at small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) with between five and 250 employees.

A fifth of survey respondents said they were troubled by how they would keep remote working staff engaged, while 26% were concerned about the impact of the pandemic on employees’ mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, 21% of organisations were worried about helping their staff manage the long-term impact of the pandemic on their personal finances and a quarter were worried about having to lay off staff.

WorkLife by OpenMoney director Steve Bee explained that despite the challenges, SMEs recognise that their workers are the ones who will help them get their business back to where it was before the pandemic.

He said: “It isn’t things like one-off bonuses that are going to make the real difference here, which is why firms should be looking further afield at smaller, more meaningful ways they can give workers a helping hand over the coming months. For example, offering access to financial advice can help with managing stress and other mental health concerns. Meanwhile, perks like retail discounts could offer a vital lifeline to some people – particularly among those who may have been furloughed or had hours cut during lockdown.”

Bee explained that, given that the majority of people in this country work for small businesses, it is important that firms understand the different options available to help them alleviate concerns surrounding employee wellbeing.

“For many people, the workplace is the only place they are going to be able to access the support that they need,” he added.