Wellbeing provider urges manufacturers to look after employees’ mental health as second lockdown looms

Posted on 3 Nov 2020 by James Devonshire

An award-winning health and wellbeing company has urged manufacturers to look after their employees' mental health as a second Covid-19 lockdown looms.

Westfield Health says the manufacturing sector cannot afford another mental health meltdown — like during the last lockdown when 46% of the sector reported a decline in their mental wellbeing — as winter approaches.

According to Westfield’s Divided Together report, manufacturing firms need to provide their employees with a sense of normality and routine, as well as encourage regular breaks for workers, to help concentration and ease Covid-related mental health concerns.

While the manufacturing industry’s reported mental health during the last lockdown was just below the national average of 50%, manufacturing workers were still the sixth most likely to have suffered mental health decline. Retail sector employees (58%), financial services (56%) and construction (52%) were most likely to experience mental health decline last time around.

Manufacturing workers making an effort to appear upbeat

The Westfield report also found that 58% of manufacturing employees said they were making an effort to appear upbeat, even though they didn’t feel like it, the last time they were surveyed.

When it comes to mental health, manufacturing workers cited financial concerns (46%), missing their usual routine (41%), spending more time alone (30%) or finding it hard to concentrate (30%) as the main reasons for their deterioration.

Dave Capper, CEO of Westfield Health, said: “It will be essential to ensure that both remote and on-site employees can create a sense of normality by keeping in touch with colleagues, having frequent, clear communication with their employer and the ability to create a routine that works alongside their other responsibilities. If employers can also provide some training or guidance on managing personal finances during this time, then we can help protect the mental health of UK workers as well as safeguarding our physical health.

“The costs of not doing anything are too great. The average UK company employing 150 people spends £120,000 a year on absence. When combined with presenteeism – a growing issue where employees are working but not happy and struggling to concentrate – the cost to the UK economy is £81 billion a year (Cambridge University).

“In the coming months, the UK isn’t just facing this virus, it’s facing a mental health crisis. If it doesn’t tackle both, then the consequences will be felt for many years to come.”

*Header image courtesy of Depositphotos