The Employee Mental Health & Remote Working Report

March 04, 2022

Paris Stevens

"95% of employees feel their companies don’t do enough to identify and support those struggling with their mental health."

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Looking to give your team’s morale and mental wellbeing a boost? Our in-person team building activities, virtual team building activities, or hybrid team building activities could be just what your employees need.

Here at Wildgoose, we’ve undertaken various reports throughout the last two years to gain further insight into employee wellbeing in the workplace

As remote and hybrid working models become more widespread, companies are having to adapt their processes to ensure employees still receive the same level of support when they’re working remotely. 

In our report, we asked employees from 129 different UK companies whether their mental health at work had improved or worsened over the past year. We also asked whether they felt comfortable raising any mental health concerns with their employers and what they believed would happen if they did.


Key findings:

  • Two in three people experienced worse mental health at work over the last year, compared to the previous one.
  • 86% of respondents feel that their workplace is not a safe environment for employees to be open about mental health concerns.
  • 95% believe their companies don’t do enough to support employees with poor mental health.
  • One in three employees feel less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings.
  • 73% of Londoners reported worsened mental health this year.
  • One in five Londoners are worried that their mental health concerns could cost them their job.
  • 82% of employees in the financial sector feel unable to raise mental health concerns with their company.
  • Hospitality employees are most likely to feel comfortable raising mental health concerns — although this only equates to a third of employees (32%).
  • SMEs are least likely to have a process in place for remote workers to report mental health issues — one in five SMEs don’t have a process, compared to 1 in 10 enterprise companies.

Hybrid workers aren’t receiving sufficient employee mental health support

With hybrid working increasing in popularity, it’s important that companies are able to appropriately adapt their mental health support processes. Sadly, our report shows that a third of employees feel less comfortable raising mental health concerns during remote meetings and 86% don’t feel they can’t be open about mental health at all.

With two in three people having experienced worse mental health at work over the last year, this lack of support is a growing cause for concern. 

Plus, 1 in 10 companies still don’t have any processes in place for remote employees to raise mental health problems. Without these key procedures, poor mental health is less likely to be identified by employers. Our data also reveals that 95% of employees feel their companies don’t do enough to identify and support those struggling with their mental health.

But it’s not just company processes that help to combat worsening mental health. Over a third of employees (37%) believe that a lack of in-person socialising has contributed to the growing number of unnoticed mental health concerns. With less time spent in the office and a decline in face-to- face meetings, hybrid workers feel that poor mental health often goes under the radar.

How can UK companies help improve the mental health of their employees?

Our data reveals that the work-life balance provided by a quarter of UK companies is exacerbating poor mental health. Working remotely often means that employees will go longer without breaks. Plus, with fewer in-person meetings, staff workloads are not reviewed as regularly.


London’s mental health concerns go under the radar at work

Concerningly, 73% of Londoners reported worsened mental health this year, which is above the UK average of 67% and the UK minus-London average of 61%. In today’s society, London is a particularly attractive place for young professionals who often have no prior connections. For this reason, these young employees often rely on their workplace for support whilst they adjust to life in the city.

Yet only 10% of employees believe that their London workplaces are a safe space to be open about mental health, compared to 18% outside of the capital. Our study also found that managers in London are twice as likely to lack training for handling mental health concerns. 

In addition, a quarter of Londoners are worried that mental health problems could hurt their career progression, compared to just 16% outside of London. Even more worryingly, one in five Londoners are concerned that being open about their mental health could cost them their job — only 1 in 10 employees outside of the city have this concern. 

Declining mental health in finance

The financial sector is often regarded as a high-pressure industry, with jobs often having long working hours and heavy workloads. Our data revealed that 68% of employees in the industry have experienced increasingly poor mental health at work over the last year. 

Within the finance industry, the level of support for those struggling with their mental health is also a concern. 82% of employees feel unable to raise mental health issues with their employer and more than one in six finance companies don’t have a mental health reporting process in place at all.

However, on a more positive note, employees in the financial sector are less likely than average to be worried that their mental health could affect career progression.


Hidden mental health issues in hospitality

The hospitality industry has been greatly impacted by the pandemic, leading to increased pressure and anxiety amongst employees. Our report revealed that 64% of those in the industry have experienced increasingly poor mental health at work over the last 12 months, compared to the previous year. 

However, it appears that the hospitality industry isn’t doing enough to identify and support employees with these mental health concerns. 100% of employee respondents from this sector agree that they don’t receive enough support. In addition, only 32% of employees within this industry feel comfortable raising mental health concerns.

And when it comes to career progression, one in five employees in hospitality are concerned that their mental health problems could impact their position within the company.



The communications sector saw the greatest impacts from decreased social contact

Marketing, advertising and PR industries often have a strong focus on communication and collaborative work. But as the UK was forced into lockdown, these sectors had no choice but to switch to remote working. 

This shift to working remotely has led to barriers for employees when it comes to reporting mental health concerns. These barriers may be partially to blame for the 69% of employees who experienced worse mental health over the last year.

Two in five feel less able to raise mental health issues during remote meetings, despite 9 in 10 companies having a process in place for remote workers to flag concerns. 

Our report also found further impacts of decreased social contact on employee mental health within these sectors:

  • 38% of respondents believe a lack of face-to-face meetings causes poor mental health to go unnoticed. 
  • 34% feel that a lack of in-person socialising makes mental health concerns harder to spot.
  • 86% don’t feel their workplace is a safe space to be open about mental health.

Whilst employees struggle to find ways to raise mental health concerns, they also feel anxious about the consequences. Almost a third (37%) of those in marketing are worried that their mental health may impact their job progression. Plus, these employees are over three times more likely to fear that reporting poor mental health could put them at risk of losing their job, compared to just 9% of people in finance.



How does the size of the company impact employee mental health support?

Our study found that employees at companies of all sizes have experienced increasingly poor mental health at work over the last year. This was the case for 66% of employees at SMEs and enterprise-level companies, and 71% of those at large companies.

SMEs:

Our data found that one in five SMEs don’t have a process in place for remote workers to raise mental health concerns — the lowest figure of all company sizes.

  • 34% feel that a lack of face-to-face meetings means poor mental health goes unnoticed.
  • 32% believe that less in-person socialising with colleagues prevents poor mental health from being spotted.
  • 24% feel less able to raise mental health concerns during remote meetings.

Large companies:

Employees at large companies are the most likely to believe that their mental health concerns could damage their progression in the company, with nearly one in three feeling this way.

  • 45% of employees think that the recent reduction in in-person socialising has caused poor mental health to go unnoticed.
  • 45% feel less able to raise mental health concerns via remote meetings.
  • 35% believe that fewer face-to-face meetings means poor mental health is more likely to go under the radar.

Enterprise companies:

Employees at enterprise companies are most likely (32%) to feel able to raise mental health concerns whilst working from home. Plus, a quarter of these employees feel comfortable reporting poor mental health in general. Although, this still leaves three in four employees feeling unable to report issues and one in five believing their mental health could cost them their job.

  • 32% feel less comfortable raising mental health concerns during remote meetings. 
  • 25% believe their managers aren’t equipped to handle mental health concerns.
  • 36% say a lack of in-person socialising with colleagues means poor mental health goes unnoticed.

The next steps: using team-building activities to improve employee mental health 

As our data has revealed, it’s extremely important that companies are prioritising the wellbeing of their employees. Whether remotely or in-person, team building activities are a great way to boost morale and help employees to foster better relationships with colleagues and managers. 

Plus, taking some time out of work to enjoy in fun, engaging activities can really help to create that all important work-life balance. All of our team building activities help to promote conversation, encourage colleague relationships and combat feelings of isolation.

Here at Wildgoose, we offer a mix of in-person, hybrid and virtual events:

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