We're sorry but your browser is not supported by Marsh.com

For the best experience, please upgrade to a supported browser:


Risk in Context

The business of mental health in a remote working world

Posted by Sarah Brown July 01, 2020

Mental health does not discriminate, regardless of a pandemic. The business case for mental health is more relevant than ever. 

Some workers have reported a better work-life balance when working from home. For others, social isolation has caused anxiety and stress. Some have felt frustrated and even less productive.

Managers generally have inexperience in managing the mental health of remote workplaces. The challenge is picking up on the warning signs in this 'invisible' workforce.

Otherwise, changes in employee behaviour go unnoticed. This alone increases the likelihood of mental health insurance claims, liabilities, and cost.

Spotting the mental health warning signs early

Negative language, more mistakes, avoiding situations? These can be tell-tale signs of an employee who is struggling. Here’s a glimpse of what we’re telling leaders and managers to empower their people:

  • Create rituals and routine for stability
  • Set clear boundaries and expectations
  • Ensure employees know where to go for support

Leading through change with better communication

The bias of the human brain can lead it to fixate on the worst-case scenario. It struggles with uncertainty. This matters every time managers communicate change or make decisions during these times. Employees respond with one of two paths. Resistance or resilience. 

Mental resilience checklist

Employees build resilience with practice and experience in four key areas:

1. Relationship management 

Colleagues need to feel understood. They need to feel like they are part of something larger than themselves. This means good relationships with supervisors. Good relationships with co-workers. Strong family and social networks outside of work. The people around us help make sense of these times. Who is around us matters most.

2. Emotional intelligence

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they may feel or react to certain situations. Being calm is contagious and so is panic. As a leader, you cannot afford to panic when times get stressful. Think about what challenges may be facing your team outside of work. We all have lives. Respond with compassion. 

3. Effective communication

Within the past week, 40% said they had drifted off in a Zoom call and couldn’t respond to a question when asked. 63% were unable to remember a conversation. These insights from a recent Marsh webinar remind us that words matter. But body language and tone matters too.

4. Optimism

COVID-19 is not going to be a permanent disaster and this too will pass. Many of us are guilty of trying to predict the future. This is out of our control. That's why the leaders who focus on the solution, rather than the problem, will build belief in their teams. Remember, there is no such thing as a failure at the moment, rather an opportunity to learn. 

5. Practicing self-care 

The flight attendant tells us to put our own oxygen mask on in times of emergency before we help others. The same thing applies when supporting others’ mental health. When we help others, we are more likely to burnout. This makes us less available to support those we care for the most. From getting enough sleep to practicing gratitude, everyone should have self-care non-negotiables.

Crisis brings out the best in people and organisations

Crisis reminds us why it is important to celebrate every day. It reminds us to show compassion with colleagues, family, neighbours and friends. It’s a reminder of how lucky we are and how important it is to take care of ourselves, our workplaces and the community. As leaders, we all have a responsibility to step up so we can better understand and treat mental health. 

Helping you to help your employees

If you or your employees need help, ask your employer whether you have a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place.

Mental health helplines

-        Lifeline 13 11 14

-        Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

-        Suicide Call Back Services 1300 659 467

-        Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36


Want to learn more about mental health solutions in business? Get in touch now.

These materials are not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained in the materials is based on sources we believe reliable but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy. Any modelling, analytics, or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty, and may be materially affected if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information, or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change. Except as may be set out in an agreement between you and Marsh, Marsh is not required to update the information and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of the information. Marsh makes no representation or warranty concerning the application of policy wordings or the financial condition or solvency of insurers or re-insurers. Marsh makes no assurances regarding the availability, cost, or terms of insurance coverage.

Sarah Brown

This website contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire a product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from Marsh on request.