Fears over mental health as staff return to the workplace

UK workers are unconvinced that adequate mental health support will be provided as they return to the workplace on Monday.

nationwide survey of UK workers commissioned by business ethics specialists GoodCorporation revealed that only 36 per cent of staff believe that their employer will provide adequate mental health support as we come out of the crisis. 

For manual workers this falls to a shocking 16%. This contrasts significantly with workers at middle management or above; over 46 per cent of workers in this group felt that mental health support would be adequate.

There is also a big disparity between the public and private sectors, with only 29 per cent agreeing that mental health support would be adequate in the private sector, compared to a more positive 45 per cent of public sector employees. 

Women were also less likely to feel that they would receive sufficient mental health support than men (31% vs 39% for men).

Commenting on this finding, GoodCorporation director Debbie Ramsay said “The Government guidance on returning to work, published on Wednesday, rightly flags the need for employers to provide mental health advice or hotlines as staff return to their workplaces. The impact of such a protracted period of remote working is unknown. Mental health charity Mind has already stated that pandemic COVID-19 is as much a mental health emergency as a physical health emergency.  It is vital, therefore, that employers consider the mental health aspects around the return to work and factor this into their planning as they prepare to welcome staff back.”

“The pandemic has heightened awareness of how businesses treat their employees. Good organisations will be sensitive to mental health issues and recognise that additional support may be needed. Our findings suggest however, that there is more to be done, particularly in the private sector, which lags behind the public sector according to our findings.”