About the data:
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged individuals and workplaces in unimaginable ways, causing the need for rapid change while presenting obstacles in supporting employees' mental health through unprecedented times. Financial insecurity, a lack of social contact, disruption in face to face medical services and ever-present COVID-related anxiety have all combined to create the perfect storm for a growing global mental health crisis.
This report highlights the progression of mental health throughout the pandemic including the initial positive impact that HR managers have had on employee wellbeing through their response. However, while HR managers and companies were quick to respond, research showed that companies in the U.S. prioritized physical health over mental health in many cases. Further, the mental health care options currently available are not personalized enough to benefit employees in the way they need. In order for companies to truly prepare their employees for the future of work, HR leaders will need to offer better solutions that are personalized and beneficial to their staff.
Mental health needs have increased rapidly:
- As COVID took hold in the US, employee conversations around mental health support from workplaces peaked in April with 55% of all conversations analyzed expressing sadness from Feb. 2020 through Feb. 2021
- 63% of US organizations experienced an increase (1) in demand for mental health support since the onset of the pandemic.
- As a result, HR Managers had to spend, on average, over a third (35%) more of their time each month on mental health support for employees than before the pandemic.
HR directors responded well to the demand for mental health needs in the height of the pandemic
- 78% of HR professionals have increased their support
- 73% of respondents plan to increase their level of mental health support in the next year
- Two thirds (66%) of respondents believe that their employees’ mental health has improved (2)
However, mental health is still not embedded in company culture
- 42% agree (3) that mental health isn’t a priority at their organization
- Companies prioritize access to physical health over access to mental health with:
- 54% offering access to fitness apps and wearables
- 54% offering subsidized/free gym memberships and vouchers toward gym equipment
- Only 47% offering access to therapy apps and subsidized/free therapy
This will become more of a problem as we move out of the pandemic
- More than half (56%) of employees would like to continue working remotely on a full time basis, which will exacerbate the challenge of understanding employee wellbeing
- 37% of HR managers think the majority of their employees are stressed about offices potentially re-opening
In order to thrive in the future of work, companies need to do more, including offering personalized solutions that best meet the needs of employees
- Mental health support should be personalized:
- While 55% is personalized to the company, only 24% is personalized to company and employees
- Even though some companies are prioritizing mental health, we need to change organizational culture to better suit workers and inherently reduce stigma
- Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) agree (3) that employees are uncomfortable sharing their mental health fears or concerns at work
- 37% of respondents rely on regular one-to-one checking in with line managers or HR team (36%) to measure employee mental health
- While this measurement is taking place right now with HR teams, businesses need to adjust strategies given that staff is still uncomfortable sharing personal mental health struggles
- Checking in with managers is important, but in order for employees to fully thrive, more and more structured measurement needs to take place
Notes to editor
1.Throughout, ‘Increase’ is a combined statistic for ‘Substantially increase’ and ‘Somewhat increase’ in response to the corresponding statement.
2.Throughout, ‘Improved’ is a combined statistic for ‘Substantially improved’ and ‘Somewhat improved’ in response to the corresponding statement.
3.Statistic was by combining ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Somewhat agree’ responses
Data was gathered from a range of sources including Twitter, Facebook (public groups only), Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, blogs, forums, news, reviews, Amazon, and Reddit. All data was collected between January - April 2021 and covered the period between February 2020 to March 2021.
Parallel to the social listening research, Koa Health commissioned Censuswide to interview 1,004 HR managers in the UK and US from companies of 250+ employees, with 5% from companies of 4,000+ employees, across all sectors. Of these 1,004 companies, 504 were UK-based, and 500 were US-based. The HR managers interviewed spanned 17 sectors, including retail, technology, law, finance and insurance. All responses were collected between 1st March to 10th March 2021.
About Koa Health
Koa Health is the only digital mental healthcare provider that offers integrated mental health solutions, from improving wellbeing to supporting treatment for a range of common mental disorders. Koa Health’s solutions are personalized services with proven user outcomes. Backed by investors including Telefónica, Ancora Finance Group and Wellington Partners, Koa Health leverages technology and research to enable people to change their behaviors with effective and accessible support that adapts to their unique circumstances. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Koa Health has operations in Barcelona, the US and the UK. Koa partners with leading clinicians and academics including Massachusetts General Hospital, University College of London, the London School of Economics, Birmingham and the Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
For more information, please visit www.koahealth.com
The Team @ Koa Health
Our diverse team of developers, researchers, psychologists and behavioral health experts work together to create practical, thought-provoking content to accompany our range of digital therapeutics.