The COVID-19 pandemic had an adverse impact on the global workforce. Be it working remotely or managing productivity, employees are having a hard time coping with the disruption the pandemic caused.
A recent SilverCloud Health study explored the role of employers in helping their employees combat mental health problems. The survey named “2021 Employee Mental Health and Well-Being Report” also found that workers are struggling with reduced productivity due to pandemic stress.
Some More Observations By The Study
As many as 90% of respondents said COVID-19 had contributed to increasing their stress level, while 30% said that they had experienced an increased need for mental health treatment during the pandemic.
Also, 78% of employees want mental health services and support that they can access online, and 35% want access to online mental health professional services via text and chat. Another 22% and 21% want access to a face-to-face counselling session and online mental health programs (not via an employer), respectively.
Not only a whopping 78% of employees surveyed prefer online services, but six out of 10 respondents also said they are more likely to use their mental health benefits if they could access them at any time from their smartphone or other devices.
Impact of Mental Health On Productivity
The SilverCloud Health study noted that 29% of employees surveyed said they were “not productive at all” or “less productive” during COVID-19. To deal with this issue, 32% of employees are taking sick days. Out of them, 69% used 1-5 sick days and 22% used 6-10 sick days.
Ken Cahill, CEO at SilverCloud Health said, “With mental health symptoms going unaddressed, this will also impact employers directly in the form of reduced productivity, turnover and absenteeism. As affirmed in the recently published Banbury Forum for Digital Mental Health Treatment statement, digital mental health treatments have proven to be effective interventions and can overcome access and provider shortages.”
Where Are Employers Falling Short?
Giving employees access to traditional therapy resources is not the way to go ahead as they are often limited and fail to deal with the full scale of the ongoing mental health crisis.
Even when there are mental health benefits, many choose not to use them. While 15% said they are not aware of what is included in benefits, another 14% said they do not know how to access the same. Price, busy schedule, and stigma surrounding mental health were also popular answers.
Mental health challenges have a long-lasting impact on businesses. The SilverCloud Health study cited a CDC report, which highlights that “there are 11.5 days of reduced productivity and 4.8 workdays lost over three months” for an employee experiencing depression. If overlooked, lost productivity and absenteeism that became more acute during the pandemic can continue even after the crisis period.
An employer must understand the need to keep employees happy and work towards addressing the gaps by providing mental health programs and services tailored for each employee.