MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

In The Know: The Latest Workplace Culture, Mental Health and Wellbeing Headlines

Your monthly round-up of agenda-setting news, interviews, ideas and inspiration across the spectrum of workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing.

REPORT

Major study reveals scale of mental health crisis triggered by COVID-19 

This week, a blockbuster study from the University of Cambridge has shed light on the scale of the global mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Among the headline stats:

  • Loneliness is hitting 18-24-year-olds especially hard, with 44% saying they feel increasingly isolated
  • The March 2020 lockdown triggered a 382% jump in psychiatrist teleconsultations, compared with the previous month
  • It also led to an 84% increase in online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions
The takeaway: Although the research paints a bleak picture, it also outlines the growing number of digital tools, interventions and resources available online – especially to employers and employees. Read more insights from the research here.

MENTAL HEALTH

Overcoming loneliness during lockdown

Having identified almost half of 18 to 24 year olds reported being lonely during lockdown, this month the Mental Health Foundation published 15 tips to help young people cope with isolation.

One we can all relate to is creating space between your feelings and social media (whether Twitter, TikTok or LinkedIn). Try to become active not passive when using social media. Notice what feelings arise. Are you making judgements about someone else or yourself? Could you take a break from social media or mute accounts or companies that dredge up difficult feelings?

The takeaway: Embrace the power of the unfollow button.

HOME SCHOOLING

How the student became the master

Hopefully half-term has provided some well-deserved respite for UK parents this week. But before you or your colleagues dive back in, take a collective deep breath, and arm yourselves with these essential coping strategies:

The takeaway: Play to your kids’ strengths (and remember this won’t be the new normal forever).

WORKING FROM HOME

Now the kids are sorted, it’s time to look after number one.

The takeaway: Whatever challenge you’re facing, there is always a solution.

REWARDS AND BENEFITS

Do your benefits meet the diverse needs of your workforce?

Pippa Andrews of UK insurance company Vitality has a three-step plan to align your benefits with your best D&I intentions:

Step 1: Survey your staff

Step 2: Tailor interventions to their needs

Step 3: Reward healthy behaviour

The takeaway: Tailored benefits = happier staff 🙂

Three Steps to Deliver Inclusive Wellbeing Rewards and Benefits

CASH FLOW

Employee wellbeing platforms are the new billion dollar start-ups

It’s not just Headspace and Peloton bagging eye-watering investment. Employee wellbeing platforms are scooping major funding in their bid to help fragmented workforces cope with the chaos of coronavirus.

  • Leading employee mental health platform Modern Health has raised $74 million in Series D investment, propelling the San Francisco company to unicorn status with a valuation of $1.17 billion.
  • In Europe, Koa Health – which arms organisations with evidence-based tools to tackle stress, boost confidence and sleep better – has raised €30 million in its Series A raise.
  • Meanwhile in the UK, People Matter has earned £500K in early stage funding to expand its workplace wellbeing analytics app, Okina, which has been touted as the “Fitbit for mental health”.

The takeaway: Health tech is helping destigmatize mental health issues in the workplace – and their stock is rising faster than GameStop’s as a result.

BY THE NUMBERS

40% of Britons say they are doing less exercise during this lockdown than the first one, and only 13% are exercising more. 19% are watching more TV, 13% are watching less, and a third are working more – University College London/BBC

The takeaway: The lockdown struggle is real.

JUST FOR FUN

Lawyer cat

Because even if you’ve already seen it, it’s well worth another watch.

The takeaway: If all else fails in your team Zoom call this week, just remember, you are not a cat.

About the author

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health and wellness. With over a decade covering industry trends, Sam knows wellness can be a force for positive change. From the individual, in transforming one’s physical and mental health, confidence and self-worth, to the collective, in championing sustainability, diversity and equality. He’s written for titles including Men’s Fitness, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, The Telegraph, The Guardian and regularly for global wellness news outlet Welltodo. Find him on Twitter @samrideruk.