More than 30 organisations including the human resources company Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have written to The Times newspaper to pledge their commitment to prioritising the mental health of their employees as they return to work.
The 33 organisations, including Unilever, Barclays and Santander, wrote the letter amid growing fears about the knock-on effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health.
The open letter cites research by the charity Mind, which found that 35 per cent of employees describe their mental health as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, and that the prospect of returning to work was causing them to feel anxious.
This is reinforced by CIPD research, which found that 43 per cent of employees said their general mental health has worsened since the coronavirus outbreak, rising to 52 per cent for those with an existing mental health issue.
From employers’ perspectives, the CIPD research found that 88 per cent of employers are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on employee mental health. When asked for more detail about mental health issues, ‘fear and anxiety about themselves or a loved one becoming ill’ was by far the most common concern reported by employees within the surveyed organisations.
The letter emphasises that “there has never been a more important time to build back better when it comes to supporting employee mental health and wellbeing. As a group of leading employers and industry bodies in Britain, we are committed to doing this”.
The CIPD has produced a range of guides and resources for employers and people professionals to support the health and wellbeing of employees.
Its guide Coronavirus (COVID-19): Mental Health and Returning to the Workplace details how practitioners can support the mental health of employees as lockdown ends and there is a phased return to the workplace.