Second lockdown biggest employee mental health challenge yet

As we move into a second lockdown, employee mental health must become a key focus for employers. 

Employee mental health challenges whilst working from home

The first lockdown, whilst challenging for many, was during the spring and summer months when daylight hours were longer and many had hope for a return to normality in the near future. 

A second, month-long national lockdown during the winter months will take a heavier toll on employee mental health, experts have said. 

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of mental health charity Mind, says it could be “the greatest test of our mental health this year”. 

Working from home has already had a significant impact on employees’ mental health. A survey from Public Health Matters found that 80% of workers believe that their mental health has been impacted by the virus and 30% have taken time out since March due to stress or burnout. 

Whilst there have been calls for government to make sure people get help sooner than in the first phase, there’s also a key role for employers to play in addressing the unique challenges that a second lockdown will bring. 

Employee Mental Health and Financial wellbeing

Financial wellbeing plays a key part in our mental health. More than 18 million brits deal with money worries on a daily basis and a third say those worries affect their sleep. 9.5 million adults have suffered from mental health issues due to financial anxiety. *

*Research from mobile bank N26

The first lockdown has already had a long-lasting impact on the financial lives of many households.

  • Furlough and reduced wages has seen a decline in household income of up to £515. CEBR
  • Over half of UK families are now behind on rent and other bills. Smarterly

As we move into winter and a second lockdown, energy bills are set to increase along with the financial strain. 

Supporting employees’ finances throughout a second lockdown is a central way for employers to dampen the impact of the second lockdown on employee mental health. 

Read our report on understanding the link between money worries and stress.

How can employers provide financial wellbeing support to improve mental health?

Remote working means traditional forms of support have to go online and employers need to be more flexible and innovative with the support they provide. 

Make it universally accessible 

Any programme must be delivered in a way that meets the needs of your entire workforce. 

5.8 million people in the UK that are financially excluded from affordable credit options (Experian) are often the ones that need it the most. By offering a universally inclusive financial wellbeing program, available to everyone, 100% of the time, you can effectively meet the needs of your entire workforce. 

Your programme also needs to be readily available through frequently used channels. 14% of all UK bank customers have at least one mobile-only account so anything app-based will be a great way for employees to access the support, even remotely.

Include Earned Wage Access

Earned wage access or earned salary access schemes (ESAS) quite simply allow employees to access their wages as they’re earned. 

The monthly pay cycle is no longer able to keep up with the ever changing world around us. This has been no more evident than during the pandemic, where workers have experienced increased external financial pressures, such as a sustained reduction in wages or partners losing jobs. 

The feast and famine effect of the monthly pay cycle means, on average, 43% of disposable income is spent within the first 24 hours of payday*, exposing 3.1 million people in the UK to payday lenders every year.*

*Portifina *FCA

Disrupting this negative cycle through earned wage access has had a huge impact on the financial lives of working people and their productivity at work.

86% of users have said that Wagestream has made them feel less stressed through the Covid period

Wagestream Survey

Less stress means more minds on the job and increased productivity for your organisation. 

For information on how to support the financial wellbeing of your organisation with Wagestream, get in touch.