Mental health fears not being met with action

New data from employee experience agency Home has found high employer levels of worry about staff mental health, but less actual help in dealing with it.

According to the poll, 80% of organisations said employee mental health was being negatively impacted by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. But despite this level of worry, the research also found that fewer than two-thirds (61%) were actually doing anything more than usual to support employee mental health.

Hattie Roche (pictured), Home’s co-managing director, said: “What I think explains the difference between worry and action, is the fact many companies are literally facing survival. Perhaps their priorities are still with saving the business first, while acknowledging mental health is also being impacted.”

The research found that instead of offering direct wellbeing initiatives, the main way employers were dealing with the pandemic was by offering staff more flexibility (91%) and having more diversity and inclusion conversations (25%).

Roche said: “I think there’s a element of employers offering flexibility, and thinking they’ve ‘done their bit’ – because in their mind staff now have more freedoms to fit work around family.” But she added: “Flexibility is only really a benefit when it’s taken through choice, and right now, it’s something that’s being forced on people.”

From a productivity point of view, of the 600+ professionals polled from 634 different organisations, the research found 80% felt offering staff flexibility had not hurt their business’s productivity.

For the majority of organisations, remote working was seen to have either no impact or a positive impact on productivity, collaboration, innovation, empowerment, engagement and culture. Some 87% of respondents reported either no/positive impact on empowerment, while 77% reported either no/positive impact on engagement.

But according to the research more than half (54%) also believe increased flexibility will be the biggest long-term trend to emerge from the pandemic.