A quarter of employees say their employer has not checked the state of their wellbeing during the pandemic, despite swathes of evidence that shows the crisis has had a detrimental effect on workers’ mental health.
A poll of 2,000 employees by Mental Health First Aid England found that 43% felt the mental health and wellbeing support offered by their organisation either stayed the same or worsened during the pandemic, while 41% said wellbeing check-ins had been less frequent or non-existent.
Many reported that their confidence had suffered over the past year. Women were twice as likely as men to state that their workplace confidence had decreased (68% versus 31%) and many more women (64%) than men (36%) reported an increase in feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Simon Blake, CEO at MHFA England, said employers needed to pay serious attention to the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and the inequalities laid bare by the pandemic.
“Workplaces are key to creating a society where everyone’s mental health matters so some employers must play catch up. We urge more employers to bring together diversity and inclusion with mental health and wellbeing, to create workplaces that are fit for all,” he said.
“Regular wellbeing check-ins with colleagues are a vital way to support people’s mental health during the pandemic and a good starting point. We’re urging all employers to adopt this simple practice today.”
Karl Simons, chief health, safety and security officer at Thames Water said: “It’s not the physical or psychological issues an employee has that prevents them thriving at work, it’s the environment in which they are placed. At Thames Water we have created a culture of care in which our people feel empowered to speak up any time they require support, so we can be there at that time of need.”
The MHFA England poll covered employees who had continued to work and were not on furlough.
A separate study that looked into the wellbeing of staff who were on furlough, by job site Indeed, found that more than half experienced a decline in their mental health since the first lockdown last year.