Poll: 31% believe SMEs should train first aiders to support employee mental health

Mental Health

Employee Benefits poll: Three in 10 (31%) respondents believe that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can support employees’ mental health by training mental health first aiders.

A straw poll of www.employeebenefits.co.uk readers, which received 49 responses, also found that 24% feel that SMEs should improve office environments in order to better support mental wellbeing, while 20% think they should consider providing counselling services.

Around 14% of respondents cite access to digital tools and apps as an approach SMEs could use to address employee mental health, while a further 10% believe wellbeing seminars would be effective.

Research published in February 2019 by small business platform Xero, which polled 500 SME owners, found that 28% are too busy to think about supporting mental health in the workplace, with 48% agreeing that they could be doing more in this field.

More than a third (37%) of respondents to Xero’s survey allow pets in the office in order to support employee wellbeing, while 35% provide support in terms of workload management and 33% give access to digital wellbeing tools and apps.

Around one third (34%) are adding plants to their workspaces and 29% are working to ensure there is enough natural light in the office in order to impact employee wellbeing and mental health.

Anne Allen, director of people experience at Xero, said: “Running a small business effectively in testing times is about doing the small things well; streamlining administration and tax compliance and using technology to simplify business management.

“Our study shows [SMEs] do feel the pressure of changing times, but work environments with the right technical, emotional and personal support can ease the strain.”

What do you think are the main barriers when looking to introduce flexible working? Let us know your opinion in our latest poll…