Two out of three employees feel their mental health has worsened in relation to work over the past year, a poll has concluded.
The survey of employees from 129 UK companies by team building and virtual events company Wildgoose concluded one in six was worried revealing their mental health concerns to their employer could result in losing their job.
The poll adds further evidence to the scale of the mental health challenge facing many employers as we emerge from the pandemic. It follows a succession of polls in the past few months suggesting that the experience of living and working through Covid-19 is not leading to a workplace mental health reset, as many OH practitioners have hoped.
For example, the Wildgoose survey found that almost all of the employees polled (95%) felt their company wasn’t doing enough to identify and support those with mental health concerns.
Throughout the UK, 86% believed their workplace was not a safe space for employees to be open about mental health, it added.
As remote and hybrid working environments continued to be adopted by UK businesses, it appeared many employers were struggling to adapt their mental health support processes.
One in three employees felt less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings, for example, often causing any issues to go unnoticed, the survey found.
Workplace mental health
One in eight companies did not have a process in place for remote workers to report mental health concerns. This was most prevalent among small and medium-sized enterprises, where this figure was one in five.
The changes most desired by employees was for companies to offer more regular in-person meetings (36%) and for managers to receive better training on identifying signs of poor mental health (36%).
Wildgoose 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,” he added.