Research carried out by idea management firm Wazoku has revealed that UK businesses are taking steps to address employee mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.
A significant concern during the pandemic is the effect it will have on employees as they face challenging situations and a new work environment. The face of the workplace is set to change dramatically as potential lockdown measures are relaxed. Currently, employers face an uncertain reality.
In recent research conducted by Wazoku, it highlighted that:
86% of respondents say their organisation has provided enough technical information for them to work from home effectively.
70% say their employer has taken steps to ensure their mental health and wellbeing is addressed and,
72% have been consulted about how best they can all approach home working during the crisis.
Simon Hill, CEO of Wazoku said, “Employee engagement is always an important part of business, but during the pandemic, it is taking on much more human importance, the technical side is actually pretty easy, and it’s the one-to-one connections that really make a difference. A daily video call might be the only contact with another person that an employee has that day, so way beyond what employee engagement can do for general motivation and involvement, it also makes a huge difference to mental health and wellbeing.”
The importance of diversification and how this might affect staff was also highlighted in the study, as Simon Hill commented: “Proactively involving employees in co-creation about the future direction of the business is hugely important.”
Fear of staff illness due to mental health issues
However, alongside this study, other research has suggested that firms are concerned about potential staff illness due to mental health. The Mental Health Foundation and LinkedIn polled 1000 HR professionals in medium to large organisations that have staff working from home at the moment.
They found the 79% surveyed said they believed that staff felt pressure to be online and present as much as possible, a so-called ‘e-presenteeism’.
Chris O’Sullivan, head of business development at the Mental Health Foundation, said staff working from home during the crisis were “at greater risk of burnout” as a result of the “high-stakes environment we find ourselves in both globally and personally”.
“We cannot have the same business-as-usual expectations on ourselves or of our employees,” he said. “There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to work full time, look after children at home, and keep up our other responsibilities.”
From the figures, it is reported that employees are putting in extra work as a result of an average of 28 hours extra per month. Around a 30% polled said they felt more anxious, and 31% said they experienced disturbed sleep.
Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mental Health Charity Mind, Emma Mamo said, “It’s worrying that respondents say they’ve worked an additional 28 hours a month on average, which equates to around an extra full working day per week. Working longer hours is also not always conducive to greater productivity – we all need time to rest and recuperate to be at our best.”
Mamo advised, “For managers, communication is even more important now than ever. Create as many opportunities as possible for your team to tell you about any issues they’re facing, whether personal, professional, or both.”