One fifth of managers say employee mental health is not a priority this year

As much of the nation returns to hybrid working, new research reveals that than one fifth (21%) of managers say that supporting employee mental health is not a priority for their company this year1.

The research commissioned by the South Westminster Business Alliance finds that over three quarters (78%) of managers admit they struggle to spot the signs of poor mental health amongst employees.

In a corresponding survey amongst employees3, two thirds (64%) confessed they were concerned their management would not spot the signs of poor mental health, which comes as an independent OHID study2 finds that 49% of adults in England report worsening mental health due to the pandemic. A further three quarters (71%) of employees believe their managers would benefit from training to increase their awareness.

This comes as supporting qualitative research from King’s College London and the South Westminster Business Alliance4 analyses the mental health of the Capital’s workforce. Through a series of in-depth interviews with organisations based in three London BIDs, the research found mental health concerns amongst employees in those businesses are emerging as a result of their respective professions, rather than personal lives.

With workers currently splitting their time between the office and working from home, the corresponding survey highlights the mental health challenges it exacerbates, notably that the signs are both easier for employees to hide (71%) and less apparent through working hybrid working (67%). Awareness for mental health is more prevalent than ever, with 90% of respondents agreeing there are more mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic.

Ruth Duston, CEO of the South Westminster Business Alliance and MD of Primera Corp, said: “Businesses have shown huge resolve, in spite of ongoing uncertainty and lack of clarity, false starts and numerous knock backs and the resolve to make this recovery a success is stronger than ever. However, we must draw our attention to supporting the workforce – as the backbone of our communities and economy.”

“The reality is that employers must prioritise mental health and wellbeing in order to create the best chance for London’s economy to bounce back. It begins with the creation of open, inclusive dialogue so that staff can feel that they can express their worries. From there, businesses must build and refine their mental health offering and have buy-in from all levels of the organisation.”

Lucy Strang, Research Associate at the Policy Institute, King’s College London, said: “There is increasing awareness of the rise in mental health challenges, which have been accelerated by the pandemic. It is a crucial moment in time for employees returning to hybrid working, so is vital that businesses do all they can to support. Our research finds that participating companies were advocating health and wellbeing checks, so it is encouraging that given time and resource required that they can deliver and better support employees.”

In light of the findings from the qualitative research, the South Westminster Business Alliance is hosting a series of corporate workshops – in collaboration with psychology consultant, Charlotte Williams – to facilitate discussions and action on mental health challenges in the workplace.

Author: Editorial Team

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