The sudden move to remote working for millions of employees is in danger of creating a mental health crisis in the weeks and months ahead.
Insurers, and brokers have been inundated with calls from corporate policyholders who are concerned over how they can support their staff who suddenly find themselves having to adapt to a completely new way of working, which comes with a lack of immediate team and management support.
The concern is the shift to working from home, coupled with the fears arising from the spread of the pandemic will place increasing stress on staff.
Darren Holmes Head of Operational Risk at Marsh said that the issue has been at the top of the agenda in many discussions he and his colleagues have had with staff.
“It is the biggest concern at present. The change to people working from home, the problems around isolation that presents, and the uncertainty are a problem,” he said. “Insurers are concerned they may well see claims for the impact of remote working on staff mental health, but it is a difficult issue for many. We have advised companies that they need to ensure they are in very regular contact with staff, ensure that they know what support is available and encourage them to report any problems they are undergoing so they can be addressed as soon as they arise.”
Issues with IT and accessing work systems are adding to the fear of staff who face having to adapt to new ways working with colleagues and clients alike.
As major firms across the world continue to either shed staff or put them on furlough staff concerns for the future are increasing and as such firms have been told to seek to reassure staff on the future to reduce stress and mental health issues.
The message for firms has been to ensure that systems are in place as the market is braced for a wave of claims from employees which have suffered mental health issues.
“If you have issues, they need to be recorded rigorously to ensure that if claims arise there is clear evidence of the advices and support that was offered and received,” Wise Guy was told.