Retail workers suffer worst mental health of any employee group

According to retailTrust, UK retail workers are suffering among the lowest mental wellbeing of any employee group, primarily due to the pandemic

Retail staff in the UK are currently suffering among the worst mental wellbeing of any employee group, according to the industry charity retailTrust.

The survey of nearly 1,300 retail employees revealed their average wellbeing levels are much lower than in people who work in other industries, with 84% of workers saying their mental health has been impacted by Covid-19.

Some two-thirds of retail managers said they had been left overwhelmed by the extra work created by the pandemic.

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Furthermore, 91% of retail managers said they have noticed an increase in mental health issues among staff, however, 28% revealed they did not have enough help from their company to support them.

Over the past year, more than £800,000 in financial aid provided by retailTrust last year to assist retail workers staying at home during lockdown, a 125% rise from the previous year, and demand for the charity’s mental health services grew by 164% over the period.

On 10 and 11 May, industry leaders will take part in a digital event, run by retailTrust, to address this issue, with retailers such as Morrisons, Asos and John Lewis being in attendance.

Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of retailTrust, said: “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the retail sector to the UK and our economy whilst intensifying the extremely difficult personal challenges facing those working in the sector.

“Retail workers have been hard hit financially, emotionally and physically over the last 12 months as our research shows, and it is clear that the retail sector now has a vital role to play in building hope, health and happiness as we move out of this crisis.”

He added: “Businesses who step up now will be rewarded with healthier and happier workers, a positive culture and ultimately, business growth.”

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “All in retail have been impacted by the pandemic, from those in the front line helping to feed a nation, to those working in distribution centres and logistics ensuring we can get our latest deliveries.

“Many have faced challenges of being bounced from open to closed and back, bringing uncertainty to their lives and livelihoods. They are all heroes, and we must ensure we continue to support them, and each other, as we emerge from the crisis.”

She added: “UK retail will continue to be world-leading, but only thanks to the indomitable efforts of everyone who is part of our industry.”

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