Research Report

Workplace Mental Health in Midlands firms 2023: A longitudinal study

ERC Research report



Associated Themes
  • Mental Health

Workplace mental health issues are widespread, and are estimated to cost UK employers £56 billion a year in sickness absences, employee turnover, and presenteeism (when employees are working when ill, or are routinely working beyond their contracted hours). Given the established strong and significant association between mental health-related sickness and productivity addressing workplace mental health issues has the potential to drive improvements in output as well as increasing employee wellbeing. To better understand employers’ experiences of workplace mental health issues, we embarked on a longitudinal study of Midlands employers in 2020. In the most recent wave of data collection, which took place between January and May 2023, we surveyed 1,902 Midlands firms. This followed on from wave 1 which took place early in 2020 pre-COVID-19, wave 2 which was conducted between January and April 2021, a period of intense business disruption due to COVID-19 restrictions, and wave three which was undertaken in early 2022 as restrictions eased. The four waves of research allow us to provide comparative analysis, to give insight into the ways in which the pandemic has affected workplace mental health issues. This report explores the extent and impact of workplace mental health issues, as well as firms’ adoption of mental health strategies and initiatives, and their experiences of new working practices. We draw on our longitudinal data to develop recommendations for policy and practice.