Employee mental health deteriorating amid Covid-19 lock-down

07 May 2020 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

With lock-down taking a toll on the economic and mental health of employees across the UK, the latest data still finds that the majority do not favour ending the Covid-19 lock-down. According to Graeme Cade, Executive Vice President at Savanta, as one-third of all businesses report having applied for the furlough scheme already, extending the lock-down will put more demand on government support structures.

The lock-down brought in to slow the spread of the global coronavirus outbreak has impacted businesses right across the industrial spectrum. Despite the array of ways the situation has impacted on the health and prosperity of people across the UK, however, support for a continued lock-down remains across the country.

According to new research from data and insights business Savanta, 69% of businesses say that they support a lock-down extension. At the same time over half of the populace, or 50%, are at least ‘very worried’ about coronavirus, according to the latest figures from the firm.

Net personal impact - over time

“The risk presented by Covid-19 is still felt to be too high,” Graeme Cade, Executive Vice President at Savanta, told Consultancy.uk. Each week that lockdown remains, the dilemma grows. While in lockdown, the country’s economic and mental health continue to deteriorate. Yet easing lockdown too far or too quickly could result in a new deadly spike in cases.”

Pointing to Savanta’s range of Covid-19 trackers – including a bi-weekly B2B behaviour and sentiment tracker, daily consumer behaviour tracker and a weekly consumer sentiment tracker – Cade explained that for the moment at least, the opinion of most businesses remains “hold fast.” That is not to say that they are not suffering though.

“Our data shows that four-in-five (80%) report that Covid-19 is having a negative impact on them and only two-thirds (66%) are confident that their business can survive the crisis,” Cade stated. “Meanwhile, employees are feeling the strain too – both economically and in terms of their mental health.”

Worry about COVID-19 - over time

According to Savanta’s research, 29% of the UK’s workforce have either having lost their jobs, or seen a reduction in take-home salary as a result of the crisis. Meanwhile, half of businesses state that employee wellbeing has deteriorated since lockdown, particularly so amongst employees of larger businesses. This is worse among medium to large businesses, where 62% said employee wellbeing was down, compared to 42% of small businesses. Employees themselves meanwhile confirmed that the net impact of the crisis has been a 27 point decline of their mental health.

This is likely because employees are extremely worried both by the pandemic itself, and the effects of lock-down. The net score for employee job security currently stands at -21% compared to before the crisis, while at least 35% of people in Savanta’s study said they were “very worried” about Covid-19, and a further 15% currently said they are “the most worried they have ever been,” as of May 4th. As a result, there seems to be more appetite for an extension of the lock-down than an end – though this will mean further government support is needed.

Cade concluded, “If the lockdown is extended, this will undoubtedly put even greater demand on support from both the state and the financial sector. A third of all businesses report having applied for the furlough scheme already, while just over half of businesses say they have confidence in the response of the banking sector to the crisis, with 8% having applied for a loan and 12% an increased overdraft facility… For now, the damaging effects of Covid-19 are being counterbalanced by support schemes and the fear of moving too quickly and triggering an even worse situation. For now, businesses are prepared to hold fast.”