Research Report

Workplace mental health in Midlands firms 2021: Baseline report

ERC Research Report



Associated Themes
  • Mental Health
  • Productivity and performance

We report on a second wave of data exploring workplace mental health, collected from 1,551 Midlands firms between January and April 2021, comparing it to data from the first wave which was carried out between January and March 2020. Our analysis offers insight into the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted upon employers’ attitudes towards, and experiences of, mental health issues in the workplace. The period covered by the second wave of data included several periods of lockdown, with 85 per cent of respondent firms having employees on furlough, and remote working significantly increased. During this period, the proportion of firms reporting presenteeism (employees working when they are ill or working beyond their contracted hours) declined, as did reported long-term and repeated sickness absence. Fewer firms reported mental health sickness-related absence, but those that did said that it accounted for a greater proportion of overall absence. We reflect on the possible reasons for these findings.