Mental health in retail: how companies can support employees

According to a 2021 study by the Retail Trust, 84% of retail workers in the UK claimed their mental health deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Also, people working on the shop floor and in distribution warehouses are more likely to be affected, as many reported symptoms of increased anxiety, sleeping difficulties, appetite changes, and long-lasting sadness.

While mental health issues can affect retail employees of every age, people in their 20s reported the lowest wellbeing levels.

Retail brands of every size have a responsibility to protect their staff members’ health. Keep reading to learn how companies can support their employees.

Introduce conflict management training

Retail employees are often subject to verbal and physical abuse from customers. According to a 2021 study, 90% of retail staff had experienced assault, threats, or abuse within the last 12 months.

For example, they might receive threats from shoplifters, intoxicated customers, young people embarrassed to provide proof of age, or people unwilling to follow social distancing measures.

Unfortunately, the abuse can take a toll on retail employees’ mental health, which can lead to many people developing anxiety, depression, or another disorder. 

For this reason, retail companies must strive to provide their employees with conflict management training, as well as offer informal support.

Check in with staff members daily

Management must set time aside to check in with their staff daily. Colleagues of every age could struggle with one or more mental health issues, which might be due to their job or personal problems. 

Store managers, assistant managers, and supervisors should build a genuine rapport with each employee and adopt an open-door policy. 

It will ensure employees feel comfortable visiting their office to ask for more support in their roles.

Provide more flexible work practices

More flexible working could transform retail employees’ lives. Despite staff shortages and internal demands, retailers must remember their employees have various responsibilities, goals, and passions outside of the workplace.

For example, while a team member’s appointment at for a hair loss treatment might not be important to management, the procedure could mean a great deal to a retail worker’s general happiness and confidence. 

Therefore, companies must strive to be as flexible as possible for their staff to protect their mental health, improve morale and provide a better work-life balance. 

It will lead to a happier, healthier workforce, which will improve productivity, the customer experience, and annual profitability.

Improve employee financial education

Employees struggling with financial difficulties are more likely to experience sleep deprivation, make poor health choices, and feel unfulfilled in their lives.

Improving financial education could help employees gain tighter control of their cash flow and make smarter money decisions moving forward. 

In addition to improving financial literacy, retailers can direct staff members to third-party organizations for assistance with budgeting, debt consolidation, building savings, and more.

Various factors can affect retail employees’ mental health, from a challenging work environment to personal issues. It is a retail company’s responsibility to provide a supportive, flexible, and understanding workplace. It will help their staff members overcome any psychological battle and embark on a happier, healthier life.