Mental health issues impact businesses not only in the form of days lost to absence but also through presenteeism and reduced productivity. Our recent Coping with Covid report found that over a third (36%) of employees said their mental health affects their productivity every single week.
While mental health awareness has increased, not least due to the impact of lockdown, workplace support has been stretched. The past year has seen many employees working remotely or in socially distanced conditions, making it even more difficult for managers to spot the signs of poor mental health and offer support when it’s needed most.
While HR teams were busy adapting to constant change and making the workplace Covid secure, they may not have had the time to transform their mental health policies to the extent that they’d hoped. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week shines the spotlight on wellbeing once more, providing an opportunity for leaders and managers to refocus their efforts and build stronger, more supportive teams.
Workplace mental health - key stats
As restrictions ease and the country looks towards some form of normality, leaders should be wary of assuming that mental health improvements will naturally follow. The statistics point to a workforce struggling with various wellbeing issues which differ significantly by sector and region.
The impact on mental health will take time to unpick. Recovery will require careful planning and a robust support system, as employees find their feet in the post-Covid workplace. The statistics illustrate the potential scale of the task:
- In England, mental health days off increased by 10% in 2020, costing businesses a total of £14bn.
- A third of employees report ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ mental health at their organisation.
- More than half the workforce finds their mental health affects their productivity at least once a month.
- In 2020, employees in the North of England took 76% more mental health days off than those in the South.
- Mental health is closely linked with productivity. Better wellbeing has been shown to increase customer loyalty, productivity, profitability and staff retention.
With mental health in the spotlight and workplace wellbeing support more important than ever, how can managers ensure their approach meets the needs of their people?
Our free webinar
On Thursday 13th May we’re holding a free webinar on mental health at work, hosted by Rosie Marino, Culture and Development Manager here at Westfield Health. Rosie will be joined by Cathy Lawson, Mental Health First Aid England Instructor and Workplace Health and Wellbeing Consultant, to discuss workplace mental health during this unique and difficult time.
Further mental health resources
Westfield Health Mental Health Awareness Week resources Including downloadable factsheets on coping with change, controlling worry and breathing techniques.
Covid-19 resource centre Our free guides to supporting your people through the pandemic.
Mental Health Foundation Resources on all aspects of mental health with a focus on prevention.
Mind.org Information and advice from one of the UK's leading mental health charities.