Supporting good mental health through lockdown and beyond

Mental Health of contractors

Supporting good mental health through lockdown and beyond

The UK has entered the second lockdown period of 2020. Everyone has an opinion on whether it’s necessary or not, but one thing is certain. We are social creatures, and enforced isolation from our communities has a huge, negative impact on our mental health.

Mental health problems are already a challenge

Mental illnesses already represent 25% of the total health issues in the country. Low levels of mental health are exacerbated by many social conditions, including financial stresses, unemployment, pressure at work and disasters.

So we can see that further lockdown measures are likely to have a marked impact on the mental health of the population, as the pandemic exposes us to all of these factors. Throw into the mix the loss of social support from friends, family and work colleagues, and reduced access to mental health services, and it’s no wonder that nearly 70% of adults report being worried about the effect of Covid on their lives.

Workplaces can be part of the solution

Even before the pandemic took hold, the mental health and wellbeing of employees had moved up many companies’ agendas, with an increasing body of evidence showing that workplace schemes have a positive effect. This has been a factor leading to ‘wellness’ becoming one of the fastest-growing global markets, worth an enormous $4.5 trillion. Now, with Covid adding to the mental pressures of insecurity and isolation, it’s an area that has never been more important for companies to focus upon.

Contracted staff miss out

Research shows that contracted staff are even more likely to feel isolated and disconnected during the pandemic. This is, in part, because they are less likely to have access to the same sort of support offered to permanent employees, with the result that they can feel they are not appreciated. But surely their wellbeing must be viewed as just as important as that of permanent employees?

Many companies who strive to offer an inclusive wellness policy turn to specialist companies such as Remus Rewards to deliver and administer a comprehensive package of benefits to all.

Our services include support for personal health such as an always-available GP helpline with online face to face consultations, free eye tests, online fitness videos and discounted gym membership.

Relieving the stress of financial worries is also addressed, with access to free credit reports, specialist contractor mortgages, financial planning services, zero commission foreign currency purchase and a health cash plan. Stress and anxiety can be helped with our online mindfulness course.

Full details can be found here.

Choose your umbrella company carefully

The impact of the new IR35 regulations means many contractors are moving across to work under an umbrella organisation. If this is you, choose carefully. Reputable umbrella companies work with companies such as ours to offer wellbeing benefits to help keep their contractors healthy. Before making a commitment, ask about the types of benefits that the umbrella company offers. And if you are a CIS worker in the construction industry, the Remus offering works just as well for you too.

We all need to be aware of our own mental health and the support available. Organisations who value and invest in mental health during the pandemic will help to negate the risk of storing up significant problems for their employees, both permanent and contracted, in the future.

Nigel Chambers

Remus Rewards, a division of People Value Limited, is an FCSA Business Partner, a TEAM Service Provider, an APSCo affiliate member and a market leading provider of reward and loyalty solutions to the temporary labour and recruitment market across the UK. By using our technology, businesses can improve their employee proposition, performance and increase employee morale and loyalty. Employees can take advantage of savings on high street shopping, including 7 major supermarkets, eating out, special rate cinema tickets and discounted gym memberships.