Morneau Shepell; MHI – The Pandemic’s impact on mental health & productivity

Pandemic Employee Mental Health

Employee mental health and productivity during the covid pandemic

Morneau Shepell’s Mental Health Index found the following;

A significant majority indicate that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health;

74% of workers in the UK were aware that pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health (80% Canada, 81% Australia, 75% US)

Employee mental health declined during the pandemic

Mental health of working Britons declined significantly since the pandemic and continues to be strained;

In this measure, a score of 0 equals the 2019 levels of mental health. A negative score is a decline and a positive score is an improvement. A movement of 1 or 2 % would be something that you would pay attention to.

  • In April 2020, the score for working Britons was -13.8.
  • These numbers have fluctuated between -13.8 and -12 during the year, ending in Jan 2021 with a score of -13.3, showing a sustained pressure.

These numbers show a mental health crisis. A decline of this magnitude has never been seen in other studies conducts by Morneau Shepell over the years. You would expect to see a recovery over time, but that hasn’t been able to happen due to the protracted nature of the pandemic. Due to this, the situation is likely to be more critical than we think it is, or have seen before.

Burnout risk for UK employees after covid

The proportion of the UK working population with Burnout risk tripled in 2020 compared to 2019

Burnout comes from excessive or prolonged stress without sufficient recovery. The impact means that employees find it hard to work and be productive. Symptoms include;

  • Feeling less accomplishment
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Decreased motivation / caring

This is a significant concern for employers, as much as employees, as this is a key driver for low productivity and higher staff turnover.

UK employee productivity during the pandemic

Employee work productivity declined in April and remains low

  • People are working more hours now they are working from home.
  • One of the reasons people are working more is that they are feeling less productive per hour of work. There are more distractions – anxiety / stress, so less productive and more hours being worked, being driven by mental health.
  • The extra hours might be masking this decrease in productivity for some employers to a certain extent. However, productivity declining due to mental health issues is an underlying issue which companies need to address as part of recovery.

For more insights, please select one of the following articles;

Morneau Shepell; MHI – The importance of Financial Wellbeing

Morneau Shepell; MHI – The Pandemic’s impact on Managers

Morneau Shepell; MHI – Key findings and further information

Morneau Shepell; Employers Connect – Virtual Mental Health Summit

Morneau Shepell are a leading provider of International Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP). A Global EAP allows a business to provide a consistent level of mental health support to employees across multiple international locations. You can find out more about Global EAP’s here;

Find more information on the full range of International Employee Benefits here

Find more information on International Business Health Insurance here



Share this article

Recent Posts

Free one-to-one guidance for your business
Fill in the contact form below or call the experienced team at Engage on
We promise shrewd and straightforward advice.

Engage Family Healthcare

Source health insurance policies tailored to families

Read more

Engage Employee Benefits

Cultivate a happy, healthy & productive workforce

Read more

Engage International Benefits

Get specialist support for expats & international businesses

Read more