Prioritising mental health as employees return to the office

Gympass is proud to put its name to a letter published in The Times (August 25, 2020) that pledges to prioritise mental health as employees return to work and the office after the long lock down.  Mind, the mental health charity, surveyed 16,000 people during lock down and found that 35% of employees said their mental health as being ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ and that returning to work was making them feel anxious.

“Employees have faced many challenges since lock down began, whether they found themselves on furlough or adapting to working remotely from home,” says Luke Bullen, Gympass CEO UK/IE.  “Some people sadly lost their jobs, or saw colleagues lose theirs, and may now be starting in a new role or joining new colleagues while navigating social distancing rules and regulations.

“Whatever their workplace experience, it has been set against a backdrop of uncertainty at home and in the wider social landscape, bringing worry and anxiety.”

The open letter pointed out that employers need to prioritise psychological safety as well as physical safety. As well as the backing of 33 leading British businesses*, the letter is supported by the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses and led by the Thriving at Work leadership council. Their collective aim is to encourage employers to put employee mental health at the heart of the recovery discussion by:

  1. Signing up to the Mental Health at Work Commitment and adopting the six standards.
  2. Reviewing the mental health support provided to employees and making sure it is fit for purpose in response to the impact of corona-virus, including in relation to employee assistance programmes.
  3. Visiting www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk to access quality assured information, resources and tool-kits.

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“Gympass has always prioritised mental health and in 2019 signed up to the Mental Health at Work Commitment to pledge our support to its framework that encourages businesses to improve standards of mental health care,” says Luke.  “As we emerge from lock down and return to the workplace, safeguarding employees’ mental health has never been more important. We have gained great insight from various support networks and found it helpful to share our experiences and pool our resources to encourage the best outcomes for employees.  I would urge other employers to look at what’s available as together we are stronger and can support our colleagues better.”

*The 33 signatories are: Anglian Water Group; AXA; Barclays; Bupa; Business in the Community; CIPD; Civil Service; Confederation of British Industry; Costain; Deloitte UK; E.ON; Edelman; Eversheds Sutherland; Federation of Small Businesses; Gympass; Institute of Directors; Lloyds Banking Group; Matrix Law; Medivet; Mental Health Innovations; Mercer Marsh Benefits; Mind; Morgan Stanley; National Grid; Nuffield Health; P&G; Pets at Home; Roots HR CIC; Royal Mail; Samaritans; Santander; Society of Occupational Medicine; Unilever.