Will there be a greater need for workplace mental health support in 2022?
Living through the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone. Returning to work, in some form, is the next challenge. However, as employees ‘return’, they can’t just shrug off what they’ve been through. They are going to need mental health support in their workplace, whether that’s the office or still the kitchen table.
Therefore, in 2022, successful businesses will be those that understand that poor mental health in their workforce means poor productivity. They know that the effects of the pandemic are likely to be with us for a long time. They also know they have a duty of care towards their workers, so they will prioritise support for their mental health.
How many people are going to need workplace mental health support in 2022?
Recent research by the Centre for Mental Health predicts that up to 10 million people in England will need mental health support. This is a direct consequence of the pandemic and they will need support for either a new or pre-existing issue. Put another way – that’s 20% of the population!
Of course, not all those people are in the workforce, and 1.5 million of them will be children and young people under 18. But with minors, the effects will be felt by parents and carers who are in work. So even if an employee isn’t experiencing poor mental health personally, they will be affected by their dependents’ problems. The knock-on effects are evident.
How are some organisations preparing to offer increased mental health support in the workplace?
A global study by Bupa revealed some surprising statistics regarding how businesses are gearing up for the mental health challenges ahead. First, it shows that almost 30% of UK business leaders are prioritising employee mental health above all else.
What does that mean in real terms? Well, spending on employee mental health is predicted to rise in UK businesses by 18% in 2022. And the study revealed that only companies in China are planning to spend more.
And what will they do with this extra spending? They plan to create new roles within their organisations which will focus on supporting employee mental health. HR departments will also be upskilled.
There are other measures that companies can introduce to support workforce mental health, and you can read about them on our blog.
So which new roles will be necessary to support mental health in the workplace in 2022?
Overall, it’s clear that organisations will need to adopt a more person-centred approach in the future. After all, a company is a social organisation – it’s made up of people. And the relationships between those people are decisive in the company’s success.
Managers and their management style are central in this. So they may need training to ensure that their management style fosters positive relationships. Because good relationships support and promote workplace mental health and wellbeing.
Changes are also necessary higher up in organisations, and the Bupa survey revealed that UK business leaders are re-thinking what makes a good CEO. The top five qualities in a CEO turned out to be what have often been called ‘soft skills’ in the past. They are:
- Listening skills
- Being able to motivate others
By the way, if you’ve always thought you know what ‘CEO’ stands for, maybe you don’t. Because almost 30% of the leaders in the study believe their CEO should also be the Chief Empathy Officer. Another 13% intend to create the position of CEO in the coming year.
How else will organisations need to change to support workplace mental health in 2022?
Next year, it’s unlikely that everyone will return full-time to their previous workplace. So, remote and hybrid working will become more common. Fortunately, the flexibility that was forced on us all during the lockdowns didn’t result in huge losses in productivity.
And business leaders seem to be prepared to focus on what gets done rather than where it happens.
The Bupa study showed that UK business leaders understand the importance of flexible working for good employee mental health. As a result, 63% have decided to continue with the flexible working patterns from the lockdowns. And a further 20% are planning to do so.
That all sounds very supportive but, sadly, it’s not quite the whole story. Organisations also need to be aware of the mental health challenges created by hybrid and flexible types of working.
There’s much more about employee mental health at work on the SupportRoom website. In addition, our resources and our blog are full of fascinating information to help you understand the big issues around workplace mental health.
Will employees expect more support for their mental health in the workplace?
In a 2020 report, McKinsey referred to mental health in the workplace as ‘the coming revolution’. And perhaps the most revolutionary aspect is that employees are starting to expect more support for their mental health from their employers.
A whopping 91% of the employees in the survey expected their employers to take mental health seriously and provide appropriate support. And 85% said that mental health benefits were a key consideration when they were applying for jobs.
In fact, on-demand mental health support ranked ahead of other benefits such as financial advice, gym memberships, and free meals.
And that’s where we come in – because providing on-demand therapy online is precisely what we offer to organisations and their employees.
How can SupportRoom help my company?
Here, at SupportRoom, we offer employee therapy for small to medium businesses. Our platform allows employees to receive therapy on-demand from a dedicated, qualified therapist.
Our SME Employee Support platform is designed to give insightful data that allows your employees to track their progress and monitor their own mental and physical health.
Book a free demo here.