COVID-19Employee Wellness

Well-being, a Pandemic Trend?

Employees in the UK fear that the recent focus on well-being is shifting, making way for a possible return to a pre-pandemic workplace that wasn’t employee-centred.

By Zee Johnson

Just one year ago, well-being was at the top of the list of COVID-driven concerns for both employers and employees. While professionals everywhere maneuvered through the life-altering pandemic, organisations became supportive by weaving the importance of well-being into their policies and initiatives. But a recent CIPD Health and Wellbeing at Work Report 2022 found that focus and regard around well-being seems to have been short lived.

The report found that the percentage of HR professionals who say well-being remains on the agenda of senior leaders in their organisations now stands at 70%, down from 75% last year. And only 42% of that same group say that their senior leaders’ actions reflect a focus on mental well-being through their behaviours, a 6% decline from last year.

The world is still picking up the pieces to forge what normal now looks like personally and professionally. Workers, however, are still impacted by the pandemic and think management should continue to consider its affects for the foreseeable future.

“Not only is COVID still with us, it has exacerbated existing health and wellbeing challenges and created new ones, like long COVID,” Rachel Suff, senior employment relations adviser for CIPD said in a release. “So, while the drop may be small at this point, it’s still a concern that some senior leaders are starting to pay less attention to health and wellbeing – particularly when the last two years have proven how important it is to organisational resilience.”

Though 66% of HR professionals say they are concerned about how COVID-19 has impacted their staffs’ mental health, with 24% of this group also citing pandemic-spurred anxiety as one of the top three reason for workplace stress, only 60% of workers are saying their managers encourage the importance of well-being, a 7% decrease from last year.

“Senior leaders have a defining influence on their organisation’s culture and it’s in their gift to shape an environment where people feel safe to speak up about health issues and seek support,” Suff said.

The research also shows that stress levels remain high, with 79% of respondents reporting being absent from work because of some form of stress, a number that jumped to 90% at bigger companies.

Organisations must move swiftly to ensure well-being is still front of mind, as unhealthy trends like attrition are often a result of poor initiatives.

Tags: COVID-19, Employee Wellness

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