Supporting employee mental health remains the biggest workplace challenge for UK businesses at the moment, according to new research.
A poll of more than 300 companies for professional services firm Barnett Waddingham has found 41% of employers say supporting mental health and wellbeing is their top concern, followed by retaining staff (36%), recruitment (36%), managing Covid-related absence (31%), skills gaps (29%) and hybrid working (26%).
Almost eight out of 10 (79%) of companies polled said they had reviewed their benefits offering since the start of the pandemic as a result, and almost half (49%) had adapted their offer.
The survey has been released to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, the awareness-raising week run by the Mental Health Foundation, which starts today (9 May).
Investing in health and private medical insurance options and allowing more wellbeing days/mental health days were two of the most common responses being put in place by employers, said Barnett Waddingham.
More than two out of five (43%) companies were looking to retain flexible hours, with 35% also looking to keep designated slots in the day free from virtual meetings.
Mental health and work
David Collington, principal at Barnett Waddingham, said of the findings: “Although we are no longer obliged to work from home, it will take time to reverse the impact of isolation and loneliness that has built up over the lockdown.
“So, it’s encouraging that businesses are placing employees’ wellbeing front and centre of their hybrid working strategy; increasing overall benefits spend and pivoting the package to concentrate on health and wellbeing.
“The hybrid world is still evolving, creating its own range of challenges and opportunities along the way, and I suspect the most effective approaches will be co-created by employers working closely with their teams,” Collington added.