CIPD in the news: responding to the Government campaign to encourage people back to the workplace

A round-up of the CIPD's work to raise the voice of the people profession and champion better work and working lives 

As employers consider a return to the workplace for some, the CIPD has continued to offer its insight and expertise to media, policy makers and people professionals. This article explores a few of the highlights from the last couple of weeks.   

The CIPD responded to news of the Government’s campaign to encourage people to return to their workplaces, reminding employers to consider three tests: 

  • Is returning to the workplace essential?  
  • Is it sufficiently safe to do so?  
  • Is it mutually agreed with the worker? 

We’re asking organisations to take steps to support their employees' mental health and address concerns they may have while they work from home, and where possible to ensure decisions over working from home or returning to the workplace are based on individual choice and preference. 

Our statement was picked up by The Guardian, The Observer, iNews and The Sun.  

Encouraging organisations to prioritise employee mental health during the return to work 

Supporting employee wellbeing is high on the agenda of many organisations as the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic continue. Joining organisations including Unilever, Barclays and Santander, the CIPD recently signed an open letter to The Times newspaper, committing to prioritising the mental health of their employees as they return to work. 

The open letter cites research by the charity Mind, which found that 35% of employees describe their mental health as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, and that the prospect of returning to work was causing them to feel anxious. The CIPD’s own research reflects this, finding that 43% of employees said their general mental health has worsened since the coronavirus outbreak, rising to 52% for those with an existing mental health issue. 

The CIPD has a range of guidance and resources available for employers and people professionals to support the health and wellbeing of employees. Visit the COVID-19 hub for health and wellbeing resources on the pandemic, or read our guide Coronavirus (COVID-19): Mental health and returning to the workplace.  

Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work 

The CIPD’s latest report, Managing drug and alcohol misuse at work found a fifth of businesses don’t offer proactive support to employees for issues of drug and alcohol misuse. The research shows that businesses need to take a preventative and proactive approach to drug and alcohol misuse and put line manager training at the centre of their strategy. 

Despite investments in line manager capability being rated highly in terms of effectiveness in helping to prevent drug and alcohol misuse, few employers currently train managers about their organisation’s drug and alcohol policies and procedures – just 12% provide one-off training for line managers and only a quarter (25%) provide regular refresher training. Further, only a quarter (26%) train managers to recognise the symptoms of drug and alcohol problems, or improving management practice more generally, for example how to manage and support employees (32%). 

The report was well received by HR media and was featured by the likes of Personnel Today, HR Magazine and Workplace Insight. Dr Jill Miller, CIPD’s Senior Policy Adviser, also penned a blog exploring why support for drug and alcohol misuse needs to be part of an organisation’s wellbeing offering. 

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