Survey reveals urgent need for employers to support mental health

Robert L. Quigley, MD, PhD, is Senior Vice President and Global Medical Director of Enterprise Health Solutions at International SOS & MedAire. After 25 years in surgery, critical care and immunology, he uses his expertise to advise on crisis management, infectious diseases and healthcare. Here, he shares his thoughts on how and why employers must support employee mental health.

For many, the Omicron COVID-19 variant has reactivated the stress, anxiety and feelings of helplessness associated with the early stages of the pandemic. Only this time, we’ve had a full two years. Input: Feelings of frustration and anger.

The emotional toll from COVID-19 means that mental health issues are a top priority for many industries that haven’t been given much consideration before. Organizations are facing the challenge of having to address and adapt to employee mental health issues.

Research confirms that employers need to step up. A new risk outlook survey by Ipsos and International SOS, the world’s largest medical and safety assistance company, predicts that after COVID-19, mental health issues will be the biggest disruptor to employee productivity in 2022. Here are the top three expected reasons for the disruption to employee productivity in the first six years of mental health challenges.

READ ALSO:  Pandemic fatigue is happening: Here's how to deal with it

The Risk Outlook Survey surveyed nearly 1,000 risk professionals in 75 countries.

Organizations in every sector therefore need to realign their “duty of care” agendas to explicitly focus on their obligations to protect the well-being of their employees. Now that mental illness is considered a predicted risk of a pandemic, every organization has an obligation to develop policies and procedures to prevent mental illness.

What is a duty of care?

A duty of care is a requirement imposed on an individual or group to observe a standard of reasonable care in carrying out conduct that may pose a risk to others.

Employees need more flexibility

For nearly a decade, it has been recognized that companies that build a culture of wellness, including emotional well-being, create greater value for their employees and shareholders.Today, employees are looking for and expect Their organization offers a variety of services to support their emotional health. Employees are now dictating to their employers what works for them.

Employers are responding. The Risk Outlook report shows that 77% of organisations have a hybrid working approach, with the most common being two days per week working from home and three days per week in the field or in the office.

However, there is a very fine line between what employees are willing to do and what they are not willing to do. The survey showed that 73% of employees would prefer to travel domestically for business rather than regularly go to the office for work.

Is the employer doing enough?

Column: America’s health care depends on women

While many employers say they are focusing more on protecting employee well-being and restructuring traditional workplace models, these are just steps in the right direction. Employees are still leaving their jobs in droves due to a lack of support.


This unprecedented exodus, considered a mass resignation, has organizations wondering how they will keep employees. Employee retention in the coming years will require managers and team leaders to create and develop best practices to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, among other things. Such best practices will include, but are not limited to:

  • Open dialogue with employees
  • Opportunities for employees to participate in decisions that affect their jobs
  • Avoid unrealistic deadlines
  • clarify expectations
  • Rewards and Rewards
  • Reduce business travel

The pandemic has brought emotional health to the forefront. In the spirit of the duty of care, organizations need to acknowledge the emotional vulnerability of their employees and ensure they meet the emotional needs of the entire workforce.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.