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Wellbeing and Mental Health Drops Down Business Agenda

Wellbeing and Mental Health Drops Down Business Agenda
06 April 2022

Despite wellbeing remaining an ongoing concern for workers, CIPD research suggests that mental health is beginning to slip down the business agenda amongst senior leaders.

A new report from the CIPD and Simplyhealth, “The Health and Wellbeing at Work 2022”, surveyed 804 HR professionals, representing more than 4.3 million employees.


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The research shows that the number of HR professionals who think that wellbeing is on the agenda of senior leaders has fallen from 75 per cent to 70 per cent in the past year.

There has also been a drop in the proportion of HR professionals who think senior leaders encourage a focus on mental wellbeing through their actions and behaviours, falling from 48 per cent in 2021 to 42 per cent in 2022. 

Similarly, there has been a decrease in respondents who say managers have bought into the importance of wellbeing, dropping from 67 per cent in 2021 to 60 per cent for 2022. 



“Not only is COVID still with us, it has exacerbated existing health and wellbeing challenges and created new ones, like long COVID. So while the drop may be small at this point, it’s still a concern that some senior leaders are starting to pay less attention to health and wellbeing…”

–Rachel Suff

Senior Employment Relations Adviser, CIPD



Levels of Stress in the Workplace Remain High


The report shows that levels of stress – which organisations have long grappled with – still remain high, with 79 per cent of respondents reporting some form of stress-related absence in their organisation last year, rising to 90 per cent for large organisations. 

Unhealthy trends linked to poor wellbeing are commonplace too: 67 per cent of respondents are aware of some form of leaveism (such as using annual leave to work) in their organisation and 81 per cent say they have observed presenteeism (working when ill) among those working from home. 


COVID-19 Still Impacting Employees


But the report notes that COVID will continue to impact workers for some time and needs to be factored into organisational plans, particularly with regards to effective mental health support and helping people with long COVID. If they don’t, it warns, employers run the risk of losing valuable employees at a time of severe skills shortages. 

The research underlines that COVID-19 still looms large in many organisations. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of HR professionals said they are concerned about the impact of the pandemic on employees’ mental health – and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of HR professionals also state COVID-related anxiety is among the top three causes of workplace stress in their organisation. 

Rachel Suff, Senior Employment Relations Adviser at the CIPD said: “Not only is COVID still with us, it has exacerbated existing health and wellbeing challenges and created new ones, like long COVID. So while the drop may be small at this point, it’s still a concern that some senior leaders are starting to pay less attention to health and wellbeing – particularly when the last two years have proven how important it is to have organisational resilience.”  

Picture: a graphic showing a person working at a laptop, their desk is piled high with folders and paperwork. Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 06 April 2022


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