Rightmove looks to support staff’s mental health amid ‘the new normal’

·3-min read
UKRAINE - 2019/03/20: In this photo illustration a Rightmove plc company logo seen displayed on a smart phone. (Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A survey among Rightmove employees found that challenges with mental health and wellbeing were more prevalent than physical health challenges over the past year. Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Property website Rightmove (RMV.L) said 16 of its employees have been trained and appointed as mental health first-aiders to support colleagues who may be going through a hard time.

They are accredited by Mental Health First Aid England, and support they can offer includes having non-judgemental conversations and help accessing external support.

The company's director of people & development, Zoe Martin, said these first-aiders “will provide a support network to colleagues and friends who they can more easily turn to if they’re experiencing a mental health issue.”

She added: “I don’t think anyone knows yet what the new normal is going to look like in the longer term and it’s likely to come with further uncertainty and challenges, and we want to make sure everyone feels supported along the way."

Read more: Mental health concerns spike among half of UK employees as prolonged lockdowns bite

She hopes a gradual return to the office will help those who have been working from home alone, and believes it’s important to have flexibility for those who would like to partially work from home.

A survey among Rightmove employees found that challenges with mental health and wellbeing were more prevalent than physical health challenges over the past year amid the pandemic.

The roles form part of a new wellbeing programme for employees which also includes access to one-to-one sessions with mental health coaches.

This comes amid a renewed debate on mental health as tennis player Naomi Osaka decided to pull out of the French Open, saying she feels anxiety over holding news conferences.

She was fined $15,000 (£10,577) for refusing to do so, and the heads of the organisations in charge of all Grand Slam tournaments said she could face suspension from future tournaments for violating their code of conduct.

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On Twitter, she said she has suffered from depression since the US Open in 2018 and also has social anxiety.

A Bloomberg report said "Osaka’s frank explanation of her challenges has put the spotlight on a seldom-discussed issue among athletes of her calibre," and cited studies that indicate about one-third of athletes suffer from a mental health crisis that could manifest as depression and anxiety, eating disorders and burnout.

Read more: Why it's OK to prioritise your mental health over your job

Meanwhile, research by Close Brothers last month found that more than half (51%) of UK employees had expressed concerns about their mental health, up from 41% in May 2020. 

The findings confirmed that the mental health of employees has been severely impacted by the pandemic and numerous lockdowns.

Watch: Should I pay off debt or save money during the coronavirus pandemic?