Employee interest in supporting mental health and well-being benefits has risen sharply. The reason is a growing level of stress they feel due to the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions. Because the stress often affects their work performance and effectivity, the number of companies offering these benefits is growing too. In the office sector, for example, up to 40 % of employers provide such support, often in cooperation with psychologists and coaches. This follows from a recent survey by the ABSL association, which brings together customer, business, and IT services providers.
According to ABSL, up to half of the employees would use benefits supporting mental health, and another third would consider it.
„Our survey showed that employees are most interested in individual sessions and consulting. Many employers, especially in the office sector, already cooperate with external and internal psychologists and coaches and offer these services to their employees,“ says Jonathan Appleton, director of the ABSL association, and adds, that the youngest generations of employees are the most interested in these benefits, most often in the under-30 group.
While in April 2020, according to a Soulmio survey, only 18 % of employers cared about the mental health of their people, in October it was already 31 %. In the office sector, their share rose to 40 % in 2021. Most often it is education in mental health and well-being, mindfulness courses and workshops, personal consultations with a psychologist or a coach, and the opportunity to use the helpline. The goal is to help employees overcome feelings of isolation, stress, and fears of the future.
Mental health got worse during pandemic
The increased interest of employees in these benefits is mainly related to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on people’s mental health. This is evidenced by the recent study The mental health emergency, in which more than half of adults (60 %) and more than two-thirds of young people (68 %) stated that their mental health deteriorated during lockdown. An increase in depression and anxiety is confirmed by several global and Czech studies. It is caused by concerns about Covid-19, restrictive measures that cause isolation, home office, or closure of schools.
„The society has been overcome by uncertainty and it is therefore up to employers to support their employees in these difficult times and offer them appropriate support. With regards to mental health support, our sector meets the needs of their employees. Great examples of this can be seen at our member companies such as SAP Services, ABInBev or Deutsche Telekom Services Europe Czech Republic,“ says Jonathan Appleton.
Lower productivity and economic impact
Even the employers themselves benefit from the support of the mental well-being of their employees – mental discomfort has a significant effect on work performance and fluctuation. According to a survey by Grafton Recruitment, 86 % of people in the Czech Republic experience stress at work, which is roughly the same as last year. However, the number of those who report an increase in stress in their personal lives has doubled. These are mainly people who started to work from home and in the online space. They lack direct social interaction and often struggle to erase the boundaries between work and personal life.
„Investing in their support pays off in every way. According to the World Health Organization, the costs of mental health prevention are on average 4 times less than potential losses due to reduced employee productivity,“ says Jonathan Appleton and adds: „Workers who feel well, are happy in their work and as a result have no need for change and are more loyal to their employer. Caring about the mental health of employees is therefore an option to reduce lost costs and fluctuation. More and more employers are aware of this fact.“
ABSL (Association of Business Service Leaders in the Czech Republic) is an organization of companies operating in the segment of shared business services, which represents a strong source of employment in the Czech Republic. ABSL was established in 2013 with the aim of supporting companies in the field of business services, sharing best practices and helping to develop the activities of its members and other entities operating in this segment. At the same time, ABSL provides support to foreign investors who want to set up their business service centers in the Czech Republic. At present, there are around 350 centers in the Czech Republic employing nearly 145,000 people. More information can be found at www.absl.cz.