A fifth (20%) of employer respondents organise counselling for their employees in order to support staff mental health, according to research by insurance organisation Aviva and the British Chambers of Commerce.
Their survey of 1,020 UK organisations also found that 35% of respondents provide flexible working options to help support employees with potential mental health problems.
The research also found:
- 36% of respondents review individual workloads to help support staff with their mental health, while 18% train managers to better support employees.
- 49% of respondents do not access occupational health support for their staff from external bodies, and 10% are not aware of any available support.
- 29% of respondents have seen an increase in the number of employees taking time off work for mental health reasons.
- 33% of respondents have observed an increase in the length of time employees are taking off work because of mental health issues.
Adam Marshall (pictured), director general at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “As the world of work changes, it is absolutely crucial for business leaders to pay ever closer attention to the health and wellbeing of their employees, especially at a time when firms are facing severe challenges finding and retaining the skilled staff they need.
“While legions of [organisations] are now more aware of mental health concerns and acting accordingly, far too many businesses are still turning a blind eye to this issue, which saps productivity, morale and individual wellbeing. Our message today is that it is no longer acceptable for [employers] to ignore mental health in the workplace, and all [organisations] need to step up [its] game.”
Dr Doug Wright, medical director at Aviva, added: “It is encouraging to see that more businesses are not only more aware of the topic of mental health in the workplace, but are also actively offering initiatives like flexible working options to help encourage a healthy work-life balance.
“It is, however, worrying to see almost a third of businesses have seen an increase in people taking time off for mental health reasons, and [while] some of this increase may be down to staff feeling more able to discuss the issue of mental health which is, in itself, good news, it also suggests that more can be done to help.”