According to a new survey, 1 in 6 workers worry that revealing mental health struggles to their employers could put their jobs at risk.
The Employee Mental Health and Remote Working report asked staff from 129 UK based companies to assess whether they thought their mental health had improved or declined over the past 12 months. In results that should set company alarm bells ringing, 2 in 3 employees reported a deterioration in their mental health in the workplace, in comparison with the previous year.
As well as worries about job security, the survey also found that 33 percent of staff are cautious about discussing the state of their mental health during remote meetings.
A significant proportion of respondents (32 percent) suggested that they would like to see firms put mechanisms in place that provided for reporting of mental health issues, with such processes supported by job security assurances.
The report was compiled by team-building events company Wildgoose. Commenting on the findings, Wildgoose’s managing director, Jonny Edser, said: ‘As remote and hybrid working practices become more widespread, companies need to start doing more to ensure that employees are still receiving the same levels of mental health support. With less regular in-person meetings and casual catch-ups in the office, it can be much harder to spot the signs of poor mental health.
‘For this reason, it’s essential that employers communicate with their staff, finding out how they would like to be supported. Perhaps they’d appreciate more regular workload reviews, weekly face-to-face meetings, or even the creation of better mental health policies. The most important aspect is that employees feel comfortable and safe to discuss any concerns.’
The Workers Union Says…
It would perhaps be stating the obvious to say that working people face pressures on all sides. A rampant cost of living crisis fuelled by events beyond these shores is causing families to pull their belts just that bit tighter. The sudden, and wide-scale adoption of remote working has left its mark in feelings of isolation and plummeting self-worth. Worries about job security in the wake of the pandemic remain high on personal agendas.
Companies must get a grip on this situation. Bosses may spend time creating ‘value statements’ with their heads of HR, but these documents have little credibility when so many people are suffering in silence at their desks.
So let’s throw the doors open and let some light in. As marketing guru Seth Godin once said: ‘Earn trust, earn trust, earn trust. Then you can worry about the rest.’
It is now more imperative than ever that company chiefs earn the trust of their employees. By bringing in policies that support mental health concerns, improving remote working policies and taking away the fear of reprisals, the covenant between employers and the employed becomes more robust. This will only have a positive effect on working relationships and lead to greater adaptability as companies face new challenges in the post-pandemic world.