Why being proactive on employee mental health is the new way forward?

Symmetra is finding with its clients across the globe that many more are recognising the imperative to proactively address employees’ mental well-being- an obligation heightened by the pandemic.

An OECD brief found that pre-COVID mental health conditions in 15 member-countries, including Australia, UK, New Zealand, and the USA, had been largely unchanged for decades. However, from March 2020 the prevalence of anxiety and depression increased and in some cases doubled.

Clearly being close to deaths, hospitalisations, family members losing jobs, restrictions on movement, reduced physical contacts, working odd hours, having school-going children confined to home have all contributed. According to the brief, the integration of mental health support with employment support is key to successful workplace outcomes. Input from employees themselves is essential.

Bupa UK identified four fundamental learnings for employers as we emerge from the pandemic: i) favour flexibility-give workers autonomy; ii) emphasise mental health-especially for remote working; iii) give easy access to help- for both physical and mental health concerns; iv) address culture- make workplaces more diverse and inclusive, which are happier and more productive environments.

Symmetra is pleased to see this wake-up call for employers in the new and unheralded working climate where employees are giving utmost scrutiny to the honest and sustained care provided by employers in deciding where to pursue their career.

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