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Research in this week’s newsletter says that while employees are now suffering worse psychological wellbeing since the crisis hit, the majority say they would not reach out to HR for help.

More than half of UK workers haven’t received any mental health advice or support from their employer since the pandemic hit in March according to the research  The study by mental health organisation TalkOut surveyed 1,500 UK workers in September and found that 85 per cent did not think mental health support had been their employer’s priority during the crisis.

This was despite the finding that over a third reported worse mental health now compared to before the pandemic. Additionally, more than two-thirds felt anxious and apprehensive about returning to work, and half said they had felt uncertain about the future of their job since March.

Despite this rise in anxiety, the survey revealed that a third of employees were having fewer one-to-one meetings with their bosses compared to before the pandemic, and three in five said their employer had not organised any virtual social activities to support them while working from home.

Vicky Pawsey, director at Papillon Psychology, said that a sustained focus on the psychological health of employees as the pandemic continued to unfold was ‘critical’.  “It is incumbent on employers to make sure that those involved in providing employees with support are equipped with the sometimes complex range of skills and resources involved, and importantly that there is also appropriate provision for ‘supporting the supporters’. Central to this too will be understanding how our working environments, whether remote or face to face, make people feel – and whether people feel safe to speak up about the issues they are facing.”

Jill Mead, chief executive of TalkOut, said the crisis had made clear there was “still a long way to go when it comes to providing effective support to employees”. She added that emotional wellbeing was an afterthought for many businesses faced with adapting to remote working.

The important issues thrown up by this research will be examined in detail at our upcoming Virtual Employee Engagement Summit next month. Look forward to welcoming you there.

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