Warwick's Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) has recently published its second major report on workplace mental health, reporting on survey data collected from 1,551 Midlands firms between January and April 2021.
The report compares the findings from a previous survey undertaken a year earlier before the pandemic took hold (January - March 2020).
The report offers insight into the impact of Covid-19 on employer attitudes towards, and experiences of, mental health issues in the workplace. The timeframe covered by the data includes several periods of lockdown, with 85 per cent of respondent firms having employees on furlough, and when remote working significantly increased. During this period, the proportion of firms reporting ‘presenteeism’ (employees working when they are ill or working beyond their contracted hours) declined, as did reported mental health-related absence. The report reflects on possible reasons for these findings.
Covid-19 and mental health employee absence
The research also finds that Covid-19 related issues are now the second most cited cause of mental health sickness absence in the workplace, and that whilst more firms are engaging in activities to improve workplace mental health, there is still low uptake of initiatives that require financial investment.
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the ERC is the UK’s leading centre of excellence for research into the growth, innovation and productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Our research helps shape better policies and practices that enable SMEs to thrive.