UK companies seem to be doing well when it comes to supporting employees’ mental health during the pandemic

Published: Monday, 11 May 2020 08:29

UK businesses are so far delivering on employee engagement in the current COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from Wazoku. 70 percent of survey respondents say their employer has taken steps to ensure their mental health and well-being is addressed and 72 percent have been consulted about how best they can all approach home working during the crisis. 86 percent of respondents say their organization has provided enough technical information for them to work from home effectively.

“Employee engagement is always an important part of business, but during the pandemic it is taking on a much more human importance,” said Simon Hill, CEO, Wazoku. “The technical side is actually pretty easy and it’s the one-to-one connections that really make a difference. A daily video call might be the only contact with another person that an employee has that day, so way beyond what employee engagement can do for general motivation and involvement, it also makes a huge difference to mental health and well-being.”

Keeping employees engaged throughout this crisis is one of the most important challenges that many businesses are facing. 80 percent of respondents believe the COVID-19 crisis is the biggest challenge they have known in their working life, while 71 percent admit to feeling cut off from the wider workplace community.

This feeling of being cut off and a lack of collaboration when homeworking is characterised in some of the business issues cited by survey respondents as being most impacted by recent events. Beyond a full understanding of their day-to-day priorities, the areas of business most affected by people working from home were identified as internal collaboration around ideas (28 percent) and external collaboration around ideas (23 percent).

Yet businesses have also needed to focus on maintaining sales and keeping operations going throughout the crisis. With that in mind, many organizations have had discussions about whether the company should pivot or offer new products and service. 61 percent of respondents have been involved in that idea gathering process.

“Proactively involving employees in co-creation about the future direction of the business is hugely important,” continued Simon Hill. “They feel much more involved and are also well placed to discuss whether a particular pivot could work or not, given the nature of their roles.”

UK businesses have mostly made great efforts to keep their employees engaged and motivated, in what is a challenging and difficult time for all concerned. While the c-suite has a host of other pressing issues that need addressing, firms have provided many measures to motivate their staff. The top five were identified as follows: regular one-to-one calls (44 percent); specific best-practice tips and guidance on working from home (31 percent); daily company-wide video calls (28 percent); subscriptions to online video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Teams, (24 percent); and virtual team lunches (13 percent).

About the research

An online survey of 1,980 employees within UK businesses was undertaken by TLF Research in April 2020.

www.wazoku.com