It’s commonly accepted that your overall wellbeing is built on four main pillars: mental, physical, social and financial health. While issues with the last three are potentially relatively easy to spot and to address, the first pillar – mental health – is a far more complex phenomenon. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the world of work like nothing that has gone before it, and one of the longest-lasting effects is likely to be on employees’ mental health.

Research recently published Towergate Health & Protection indicated that just over 85% of employers believed that their members of staff have needed higher levels of support around health and wellbeing since the pandemic struck. In addition, four in ten employers confirmed that the mental health of their staff was now of more concern to them than it was prior to Covid-19.

The way we work has changed, with many companies opting to adopt a hybrid or fully remote model, and that has created unforeseen issues around mental health and general wellbeing. Towergate’s research revealed just how significant mental health has become since the pandemic:

• 17% of employers are now more worried about their employees’ financial health
• 13% are now more concerned about their social health, especially in terms of feelings of isolation due to remote working
• 36% of employers believe that their workforce now need more support with their physical wellbeing, but
• 53% of employers report that their staff are seeking greater support around their mental health

While mental health issues can affect a business of any size, it does appear that there’s more prevalence in larger companies, where employee welfare has historically not been taken as seriously. This is backed up by the statistic that just under half of employers with more than 250 members of staff confirmed that they were now more worried about their employees’ mental health than they were pre-Covid. This figure drops to 37% for small to medium enterprises. A sizeable majority (74%) of the larger businesses also said that their workforce would like to receive more mental health support since the pandemic. This number fell to 37% among SMEs. Introducing mental health support and achieving employee engagement can be daunting, but there are a few simple steps to follow:

• Consult with your staff – they’ll know best the kind of support they’d value, so why not ask them by creating a questionnaire or arranging a series of brainstorming meetings?
• Be prepared to change – the world of work is constantly evolving, so keep an open mind as to the solutions you can put in place
• Communicate with your employees – mental health provision isn’t just a box ticking exercise; it’s fundamental to the wellbeing of your staff and your business, so make sure everyone knows what’s available to them
• Help staff gain access to specialists – the pandemic has seen a rise in the number of virtual GPs and health professionals, so share contact details with your teams

For Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, employers have a duty of care to look after their employees’ mental health, and now more so than ever. ‘As we emerge from the pandemic, we believe that the businesses that thrive will be the ones who not only say they take mental health seriously but who back that up with action,’ says Rosa. ‘Our aim for all our clients and our candidates is to ensure that they’re a good match. We want candidates to find the job and career path that’s right for them and we want our clients to feel confident that they’re recruiting the best talent for their business. Ultimately, however, the pandemic has taught us that quality of life and overall wellbeing are so important, so employers really do need to ensure that they’re offering the best mental health provision that they can if they want to attract and retain the best members of staff.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to build your team and would like some help and advice, please contact us for an initial discussion.