HR calls for more wellbeing support after coronavirus

HR is becoming increasingly worried about the long-term impact of coronavirus, with some leaders wanting more support and funding for wellbeing services.

The majority (77%) of SME HR leaders said they would invest in additional health measures if government support was available.

According to new research by HR software provider Breathe, employers are under pressure to introduce wellbeing measures after the rise in mental health issues during the pandemic.

Jonathan Richards, CEO and founder at Breathe, said HR has been working tirelessly since March and now wants additional support for wellbeing services.

He told HR magazine: "HR teams have done a great job providing advice and support over the past year, but they're often stretched and unable to support their team as much as they would like as wellbeing matters are only a small part of their job role. 

“Without adequate funding and resources in place, it's difficult for teams to fully support their people who are facing mental health difficulties.”

Richards said having the right tech and support in place means HR teams would be able to focus their attention away from day-to-day tasks, such as approving holiday requests, and spend more time on supporting their people.

He said: "Our findings about decision makers wanting to invest in additional services, show it's a clear priority for teams.

“Access to more resources from governmental bodies would provide much needed assistance, providing them with the space and ability to provide more comprehensive support, which in turn, makes people happier and more productive at work."

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The majority (65%) of respondents said their organisation had already introduced additional mental health services for staff.

However, one in five (20%) said they were not sure they would invest in more support for employees' mental health.

Sarah Murphy, associate director for advice, information and training at Rethink Mental Illness, said this shows HR teams lack time and resources to invest in expanding wellbeing programmes.

Murphy said: “Removing the stigma around mental health problems should be businesses priority in the post-COVID workplace and beyond.

“People living with and managing mental illness in all its variations, should be entitled to a good quality of life.”

As work has such a strong influence over people’s mental wellbeing, especially during these times, Murphy said it is only right that policies are updated to reflect employers’ duty of care.

“Investment in people and their wellbeing is always a sensible, and ethical, decision,” she added.

Breathe surveyed 429 SME HR decision makers on 21 January 2021.