Skip to main content
benevolent funds during coronavirus

Wellbeing at work – supporting employees


When people think about wellbeing, they invariably think of mental health. And while wellbeing encompasses more aspects of a person’s life, employers have to prioritise their staff’s mental health. 79% of employees say that coronavirus has negatively impacted their mental health. So now more than ever employers need to consider how they can better support their employees.


Impact of mental health problems at work

Mental health problems are the leading cause of sickness absence in Britain, with one in six people taking time off and 70 million work days lost, costing costs employers around £2.4 billion per year. This CV Library survey found that 89% of workers with mental health problems say that their working life is impacted. And nearly half of the respondents have considered resigning because of the impact of work on their mental health.

Ongoing stigma

Time to Change conducted a poll to understand how comfortable people are discussing mental health in the workplace. They found that 36% were comfortable discussing health matters, 18% to talk about money problems, but only 13% felt that they were able to talk about their mental health.

95% of employees who are struggling with their mental health will give a different reason for taking a sickness absence. It’s important for an employer to understand the true meaning of sickness to provide appropriate support and supervision of staff. The ongoing stigma around mental health means that employers are not getting the full picture and they’re not providing the right level of support.


Invest in mental health initiatives

Investment in better mental health support at work could potentially result in a positive return on investment. Workplace mental health support can reduce sickness absence, presenteeism (employee being present but unproductive) and staff turnover. Creating a healthy environment that prioritises staff wellbeing can improve morale, culture and productivity.


Create a wellness-at-work plan

Train employees to be Mental Health First Aiders and implement mental health days. This tells employees that their mental health is as important as their physical health. Provide training to cope with stress and resilience – this will give your employees the tools to support themselves. Have regular catch ups with your staff to discuss how they feel, especially during the coronavirus lockdown. This can also help employers spot signs of stress or depression earlier.

Employers can also introduce schemes to give access to counselling and therapies to support their staff. These kinds of schemes can be accessed through industry benevolent funds, where available.


Foothold is a charity supporting engineers and their families worldwide. We provide a variety of support and advice to help our community. If you’d like to discuss how Foothold can support your employees, get in touch with us at [email protected]




Other blogs

Engineer and coach Lorraine West

Human engineering: How I learned to be the best version of myself – and you can too

Engineer and coach Lorraine West reveals how human engineering helped her learn how to thrive – no matter the challenges she faces in life.

View post
Michael Hargreaves, author of How Foothold’s new Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme can support you to achieve your career goals

How our Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme can support students and apprentices to achieve their career goals

In this blog, we explore how we can support engineering students and apprentices through our Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme.

View post
Laura Norton of the IET, author of: My story of improving neurodiversity awareness in engineering

My story of improving neurodiversity awareness in engineering

Laura Norton of the IET joins us to discuss why our Engineering Neurodiverse Futures programme is vital for the whole engineering community.

View post

Your stories

Simons story support in coronavirus pandemic image
This money will cover all our everyday expenses until the government funding kicks in or we can start working again. I think it’s just brilliant that there is somebody giving this kind of support. Simon Gaze View story
Alan overcoming illness
The financial support has alleviated so many problems for us. I can’t express how much it helped - it’s enabled us to live a life. Alan Monelle View story
molly counselling support
I feel like I have a safety net which reassures me massively. We still have stressful days, but I can manage them so much better than before. View story
sharon becoming a carer
The way we have dealt with the last 12 months is with a positive attitude, laughter and not being afraid to ask for help. Sharon Monelle View story