Less than half of workers feel comfortable talking about mental health with their managers

22nd May 2020
Richard Guest
Associate Partner & Head of Practice

According to interim analysis of new research commissioned by Berwick Partners, less than half of people feel comfortable talking with their manager about their own mental health (43%).

Furthermore 57% of people felt there was a direct correlation between well-being provision at work and their mental health. Mental health awareness in the workplace has never been more topical or of critical importance to businesses. The last few months have seen dramatic change across all industry sectors, with many employees being forced into a new daily routine.

Much of the population have had to find somewhere suitable at home to set their laptop for eight hours a day. Working and juggling the demands of home schooling. People are feeling drained after nine weeks of constant video-calls, worrying about the furlough scheme and the knock-on effects of pay cuts and possible long-term job security. A significant cross section of the society is now living on their own and having to contend with minimal social interaction. Organisations, managers and employees have gone through a significant period of rapid change in a short period of time.

A need for training

The research suggests that less than 50% of managers feel they have been adequately trained in creating a positive culture around well-being and mental health. So perhaps it is less a lack of ‘will’ but rather a lack of ‘skill’, which can – and should – be solved as a priority

These initial findings clearly signal a need for organisations to increase the pace of implementation of well-being strategies and improve provisions as a matter of urgency. We spend much of our time at work, or working, and want to feel good about that. How we feel at and about work is significant, and a positive, supportive culture is vital – arguably now more than ever with so many people working in lockdown from home during the Coronavirus pandemic. This type of agile working is likely to continue as the future way in which work is set to change.”

Managing mental health

Regular exercise was the number one way in which respondents are managing their own stress and mental health (54%), with 36% focusing on prioritising a healthy work life balance by taking regular breaks throughout the day and ensuring family down time remained separate.  It also highlighted that 4.5% of those surveyed take regular counselling – many stating this was at their own expense, while 1.7% of individuals are on regular medication as a mechanism for coping.

About the survey

Berwick Partners, in conjunction with mental health consultants, InsideOut and DLA Piper’s employment law team, launched a survey earlier this year entitled ‘The role of corporate well-being and mental health provision in employee retention and attraction’. The survey closed last week with close to 350 responses. We are in the process on analysing the data fully and will publish the report in October to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

We nonetheless wanted to extend a warm thank you to all those that took the time to complete the survey and wanted to share with you some initial findings prior to the more detailed report later this year.

If you would be interested in receiving a copy of the survey and being invited to our launch event, please respond to berwickpartners.events@odgersberndtson.com