Employee Well-being Insights: 5 Mental Health Employee Benefits Trends for 2022
25 January 2022
Mental health has been a hot topic recently, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, many people have suffered from issues such as burnout, depression, anxiety and substance addiction. In fact, 1 in 5 adults experienced some form of depression in early 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is more than double the figure observed before the pandemic.
In 2022, mental health will continue to be a top concern for workplaces, and employers should take notice. According to a study carried out by mental health organisation Talkout, a staggering 85% of respondents felt like their mental well-being wasn’t made a priority by their employer during the pandemic.
With this in mind, employers will need to evaluate their mental health strategies and contemplate how they can help maximise their employees’ overall well-being. To help with this, employers can consider the following trends that may influence workers’ mental health in 2022.
More Mental Health Programmes
Employers should expect to see more mental health programmes cropping up in the new year. According to an analysis by Deloitte, poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion a year. However, for every £1 spent on mental health interventions, employers get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover. Employers may wish to consider digital mental health solutions, including mindfulness or meditation programmes, stress management classes or other online offerings.
Increased Scheduling Flexibility
Scheduling flexibility remains a top workplace desire for employees. During the pandemic, many employees were sent home to work remotely for the first time; now, many want to retain that perk. According to a YouGov survey, 57 per cent of employees want to be able to work from home, at least some of the time, once the pandemic is over. That’s because having work flexibility allows employees to better manage their personal responsibilities, creating a better work-life balance.
Employers are expected to increase scheduling flexibility in 2022, whether it’s through remote or hybrid work scheduling. A survey by the Institute of Directors found that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of company directors plan to keep increased home-working within their organisation once the pandemic is over. Furthermore, 43 per cent intend to increase flexible working more widely through measures such as flexitime and staggered and compressed hours. These figures illustrate how important having remote and flexible options will be to stay competitive, improve mental well-being and attract employees in 2022.
Expanded Virtual Doctor Visits
Remote access to mental health professionals can be critical for employees who may otherwise not have time to seek help. During the pandemic, online consultations with general practitioners (GPs) were a mainstay. Virtual appointments are
likely to continue after the coronavirus, in time perhaps becoming as commonplace as online banking and shopping.
As well as helping employees be proactive about their health, virtual doctor visits help employers prevent decreased economic output simply by eliminating the travel time required to attend GP consultations. In 2022, employers may start to consider adding a private online GP service to their health benefits package.
Greater Mental Health Education
While mental health concerns have risen dramatically in recent years, education on such topics hasn’t always kept pace. Employees might be feeling burned out or depressed and not understand why or what to do about it. This demonstrates the need for greater mental health literacy. In 2022, employers can expect a greater focus on education in this area.
Examples of mental health education include:
- Training managers to spot employees who may be struggling with their mental health
- Providing employee communications that address and help explain mental health issues
- Offering seminars or educational sessions that explain signs of mental health issues and what to do about them
Improved Focus on Individuals
Mental health needs to be nurtured just like physical health—it’s impossible to improve something overnight. Employers are understanding this and taking steps to address issues before they worsen.
For instance, three-quarters of workers in the UK suffered from burnout in 2020, according to work management tool Asana. Employers are trying to curb this trend by checking in with employees more frequently about how they’re feeling. Instead of annual or quarterly one-on-one meetings, managers are being encouraged to touch base more regularly. Having this candid communication can help address mental health issues before they get worse.
Mental health is a serious concern for employees and their employers. Not addressing mental health issues can lead to a host of other problems down the road, including burnout and depression.
In 2022, employers should be ready to help their workers with their mental health. This means educating employees and managers about these issues and providing solutions for individuals to seek professional help.
For more information on employee well-being and benefits trends, contact us today.