Our changing attitudes to mental health

Two years after Covid-19 reached UK shores, the pandemic continues to shape the way we work. The change we’ve seen over the past few years has also opened an opportunity for us to evaluate our attitudes towards health and wellbeing in the workplace.

Our 2021 Coping with Covid report revealed the impact of Covid-19 on people’s mental health at the height of the pandemic. One year on, how have employee perspectives changed? We asked 1,500 people from across the UK about their attitudes to workplace wellbeing and mental health.

Using the data collected, we explore the most pressing mental health challenges faced by UK workers and how employers can support their people in the post-Covid workplace.

What impact has our changing attitude to mental health had?

The results reveal an average of 3.36 days off due to mental health per employee in 2021, up from 3.19 in 2020, at a cost to businesses of £12.7bn.

As attitudes towards mental health change, HR leaders must adapt their approach to employee wellbeing. The majority of workers (68%) think employers are more aware of mental health issues now, and with this awareness comes an expectation for businesses to offer robust support for their people.

By revisiting the pandemic’s influence on mental health, this report reveals the business impact of mental health absences and looks at the challenges employees will face in the near future, as well as evaluating their new expectations and priorities as a result.

Key findings include:
  • 43% of employees say their mental health has got worse since the start of the pandemic.
  • 31% of UK employees took time off work due to mental health in 2021.
  • Mental health days off cost UK businesses £12.6bn in 2021.
  • 66% of mental health absences are longer than five days.
  • 68% of people think the pandemic has made employers more aware of mental health issues.
  • 73% of people are worried about the increased cost of living.
  • 52% of people want to prioritise spending time with their family and friends.
  • 28% of people want long term changes to the way they work.

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