A quarter of employees have disclosed that their mental health has deteriorated due to the pandemic, while 20% say they are struggling to cope with Covid-19 restrictions, according to new research from GRiD.
The survey of 1,216 workers, undertaken during January 2021, also showed that 76% of employees, to the best of their knowledge, had not had Covid-19, but 13% said they had contracted the virus and 11% were “not sure”. Of those who have had the virus, 46% said they were still struggling to recover.
According to GRiD, the findings “only stand to highlight the importance of ensuring swift access to health and wellbeing benefits to minimise the impact on the individual”.
It added that the mental repercussions of lockdown and the virus itself not only impact the individual but can also have consequences for others, including partners, children and other dependants, as well as immediate colleagues and their wider team and business as a whole.
However, it noted that the group risk market has responded to the pandemic by fast-tracking access to support for employees, as well as by creating new programmes to provide help.
In particular, mental health support in relation to Covid-19 has been accelerated, remote/online consultations are more widely available, and early interventions for Long Covid have been developed that address both the fatigue and neurological side of the condition.
In addition, GRiD says there is greater rehabilitation support to aid employees returning to work, adding it is “crucial that employers make themselves aware of all of these new developments”.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “At present, the focus of the pandemic is very much on counting individuals: those who have tested positive, those who are in hospital, those who have died and those who have received the vaccine. However, there is great potential for a ripple effect to occur where impact is felt much wider.
“Group risk products: employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness are continually developing and over recent years we’ve seen a marked increase in the capacity and diversity of embedded support.”
She added: “However, it’s true to say that as in other areas of our lives, the pandemic has hastened developments. Therefore as well as providing comprehensive financial help for employees when it’s most needed, the breadth and depth of support within group risk products for mental health issues in general and those arising from the pandemic is now extensive.”