After the last recession, the World Health Organisation reported that ‘economic crises are times of high risk to the mental wellbeing of the population, the people affected and their families.’ (Impact of Economic Crises on Mental Health 2011 report)
This is important to note as employees are navigating a unique set of challenges. There is continued blurring of home and work boundaries, increases in the cost of living, talks of an upcoming recession and ongoing political instability.
This is in addition to our healthcare system being under extreme pressures, therefore impacting the level of support available to the UK population. In fact, 28% of British people who tried to access mental health support since 2020 were not able to do so. (Mind 2021, Coronavirus: The consequences for mental health).
Many employees might therefore experience a greater sense of uncertainty about the future at large, feelings of job insecurity and financial worries – all of which impact people to varying degrees depending on their personal circumstances.
For these reasons, it is essential to have a robust workplace wellbeing strategy designed to provide relevant and timely support. The webinar How self led digital tools are key to recession proofing your wellbeing strategy of the future explores ways to empower your workforce and build employee resilience as we navigate economic and mental health crises.
The impact of recessions on organisations and workplace wellbeing
Organisations and teams are equally impacted with tightened budgets, potential restructures, increased costs brought on by economic uncertainty and a potential risk of squeezed profits depending on the industry.
Furthermore, the impact on employees as aforementioned can expose organisations to greater health and wellbeing risks linked to low team morale, lack of motivation and reduced productivity which consequently could impact overall business performance. In fact, 65% of British adults report their mental health has gotten worse since March 2020 (Mind 2021, Coronavirus: The consequences for mental health).
Whilst recessions cannot be avoided, the best we can do is prepare for what’s ahead to support organisations, teams and individuals alike.
Promoting employee wellbeing in relevant ways
First we must recognise that no two people will be impacted in the same way and neither will they want to be supported in the same way.
Dialogue’s user research uncovered that mental health needs fall into four different personas:
The explorer who is not yet ready to speak to a therapist yet and prefers to try tools anonymously
The aspirer who wants immediate guidance and structure
The initiator who prefers to solve their mental health issues on their own
The rationaliser who wants time to express themselves and be deeply understood
For this reason it is important to empower all employees to take care of their own wellbeing journey with resources that factor in the varied needs of these individuals and recognise that therapy appointments are not for everyone.
4 self-led tools to support employees in a recession and beyond
Self-led digital tools empower your employees to get the help they need anytime, anywhere via mobile app or web browser – with zero barriers to access.
Here are 4 examples of self-led health and workplace wellbeing tools:
1 – Digital cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT)
iCBT (digital cognitive behavioural therapy) is a virtual, self-guided, practical, structured, short-term form of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
This clinically-proven method uses mental exercises that challenge unhelpful beliefs and, in turn, teach effective behaviours for dealing with anxiety, depression, or other emotional or mental health challenges.
Tictrac, a Dialogue company, offers iCBT within its digital health and workplace wellbeing platform as a cost effective approach to supporting employees with mild to moderate mental health issues. This allows employees to access it anytime, anywhere via their mobile app or web browser.
2 – Science backed healthy habit building tools
Incorporating habit forming action plans within your company-wide wellbeing programme will help employees get practical guidance on the variety of ways in which they can start to take positive steps to achieve their wellbeing goals.
This can act as a preventative plan by providing a collection of evidence-based habit suggestions that target areas of intervention and suggest wellbeing behaviours for individuals to try. For example, employees looking to improve their financial wellbeing could join an action plan, track and adopt new habits to support them such as: tracking spending triggers, unsubscribing from promotional emails or improving their financial knowledge. This approach not only communicates the why but also the how of achieving their wellbeing goals.
3 – Personalised content available 24/7
Content remains a very effective way to promote wellbeing at work especially when it is timely and relevant. This is where combining timeless content for information, education and guidance, along with campaign-led content introducing new health themes or directing employees to other benefits can truly support your wellbeing objectives.
Providing employees with an extensive library of health and wellbeing content drives high levels of engagement, enables your company to deliver targeted messaging and can be linked to existing initiatives.
To ensure full coverage across whole person wellbeing, it’s important to consider the pillars of wellbeing including emotional, physical, financial and social. Ideally this would also be combined with coverage of a good mix of topics such as: working from home, resilience, recipes, musculoskeletal pain, posture improvements and more.
4 – Fitness challenges to drive engagement
Challenges are a powerful tool to help maintain culture and connectivity in a hybrid-first world. They enable employees to join teams, compete together and with the right tools in place can allow individuals to post updates and create social connections.
They can also inspire fun ways for companies to get creative by setting walking, cycling or running challenges to cover great distances as a collective group. An example of this would be completing the equivalent number of steps from Canada to London just as Tictrac did in a recent company wide challenge.
Evidence backed initiatives for the win
Tictrac helps organisations to improve their employee experience, cultivate a culture of health and wellbeing, and empower employees to take control of their own mental health journey.
Developed by mental health experts with 20+ years of experience helping patients around the world – Tictrac’s health and workplace wellbeing platform supports organisations with a prevention-led model designed to empower employees to take control of their own wellbeing journey using a range of digital tool and resources including:
Digital cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT)
Science backed healthy habit building tools
Fitness challenges to drive engagement
And extensive library of health and wellbeing content – physical, emotional, financial and social
Impact of Economic Crises on Mental Health – https://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/134999/e94837.pdf
Coronavirus: the consequences for mental health - https://www.mind.org.uk/media/8962/the-consequences-of-coronavirus-for-mental-health-final-report.pdf