One in five (20%) employees say they are struggling to cope with Covid-19 restrictions and a quarter (26%) disclosed that their mental health has deteriorated due to the pandemic, according to new research amongst 1,216 employees on behalf of Group Risk Development (GRiD).
The research, undertaken during January 2021, showed that 76% of employees, to the best of their knowledge, had not had Covid-19, but 13% said they had contracted the virus and 11% were ‘not sure’. Of those who have had the virus, nearly half (46%), said they were struggling to recover.
According to GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector, this only stands to highlight the importance of ensuring swift access to health and wellbeing benefits to minimise the impact on the individual.
In fact, the mental repercussions of both the restrictions and the virus itself not only impact the individual but can also have consequences for others, from their partner, to their children and other dependants; and within a business context, immediate colleagues, their wider team and the business as a whole.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “At present, the focus of the pandemic is very much on counting individuals: those who have tested positive, those who are in hospital, those who have died and those who have received the vaccine. However, there is great potential for a ripple effect to occur where impact is felt much wider.”
Health & Wellbeing industry responds to Covid-19
The health and wellbeing industry, and the group risk market in particular, has responded to the pandemic by fast-tracking access to support for employees and also by creating entirely new programmes to provide help.
In particular, mental health support in relation to Covid-19 has been accelerated, remote/online consultations are more widely available, and early interventions for Long Covid have been developed that address both the fatigue and neurological side of the condition. In addition, there is greater rehabilitation support to aid employees returning to work, so it’s crucial that employers make themselves aware of all of these new developments.
Katharine Moxham concluded: “Group risk products: employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness are continually developing and over recent years we’ve seen a marked increase in the capacity and diversity of embedded support. However, it’s true to say that as in other areas of our lives, the pandemic has hastened developments. Therefore as well as providing comprehensive financial help for employees when it’s most needed, the breadth and depth of support within group risk products for mental health issues in general and those arising from the pandemic is now extensive.”