Over a third of businesses report that employee mental health support has got better since the start of the pandemic

New research by Acas has found that over a third (36%) of British employers have seen their mental health support improve since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask businesses in Britain about whether they had seen a change to employee mental health and wellbeing support in their organisation since the start of the pandemic. The poll found that: 

  • over a third (36%) said it had got better 
  • nearly 1 in 10 (9%) said it had got worse 
  • half (50%) reported it as staying the same 
  • 6% of employers did not know 

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said: 

“The pandemic has been a challenging period for everyone and it’s great to see that over a third of bosses have managed to improve their organisation’s mental health support for their staff. 

“However, nearly 1 in 10 employers have seen this support deteriorate so it is important for businesses to invest in the wellbeing of their workers as they open up again. 

“Acas has good advice and training on how to support and manage mental health and wellbeing at work.” 

Acas advice for employers on managing mental health during COVID-19 includes: 

  • be approachable, available and encourage team members to talk to you if they’re having problems 
  • keep in regular contact with your team to check how they are coping 
  • be understanding towards the concerns and needs of your staff while they work in new or unexpected ways – for example, working from home or managing childcare while working 
  • address any individual communication preferences such as asking team members if they prefer to talk over the phone, through video meetings or by email 
  • look after your own mental health and get support if you feel under more pressure than usual – this support could be a colleague at work, a mental health network or a counsellor 

Read Acas’s full advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and mental health at work.

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Background notes 

1. Acas commissioned YouGov to poll senior decision makers in a representative sample of British businesses. The survey was carried out online and the total sample size was 2,030 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15 and 28 June 2021. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc and have been weighted and are representative of British business size. 

2. Participants were asked: "Do you think your organisation's provision of support for employee mental health and wellbeing has got better or worse since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, or stayed the same?"  

The results were:  

  • 11%: Got a lot better 
  • 25%: Got a little better 
  • 50%: Stayed the same 
  • 7%: Got a little worse  
  • 2%: Got a lot worse 
  • 6%: Don’t know

3. Acas provides a range of related information, including: