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Aptean Respond to Vulnerability: What the Pandemic has Meant for Our Customers and What We're Doing to Help

Aptean Respond to Vulnerability: What the Pandemic has Meant for Our Customers and What We're Doing to Help


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Aptean Respond to Vulnerability: What the Pandemic has Meant for Our Customers and What We're Doing to Help

20 May 2021

Aptean Staff Writer
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The rise in vulnerable customers over the last 12 months has definitely not gone unnoticed. An October 2020 survey by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that the number of UK financial services customers that could be classed as 'vulnerable' increased by 15% over the first few months of the pandemic, up by 3.7 million adults to a staggering 27.7 million.

While businesses are striving to ensure the fair treatment of these vulnerable customers, they’re also facing an equally pressing challenge, that of an increase in employee vulnerability, particularly with regards to mental health and wellbeing.

Even pre-COVID 19, mental health was the most common cause of long-term sickness absence in the UK workplace. Early indications suggest the pandemic, in conjunction with Government measures to control it, including furlough, lockdown and social distancing, have had a significantly negative impact on the health of employees. A 2020 survey reported that 69% of those working from home because of the pandemic found it more stressful, showing signs of burnout. With many employees feeling increasingly isolated, disconnected and overwhelmed, and with some organizations now discussing a permanent switch to home-working, never has it been more important for organizations to support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees. 

Duty of Care

Businesses have to work harder to safeguard the mental health and wellbeing of their staff, fulfilling their duty of care to each and every person they employ. Such efforts are beneficial to the business too, helping to build a positive working environment, improving organizational resilience and enhancing performance and productivity. Poor mental health at work can lead to increased staff turnover, reduced engagement and high presenteeism, three things that certainly aren’t conducive to building a robust, resilient and effective workforce.

This concern about employee wellbeing is being addressed on a global scale and this summer will see the publication of ISO 45003, the first global standard giving guidance on managing psychological health in the workplace. Currently at draft stage, ISO 45003 offers information on how to recognize and identify psychological hazards that can affect workers as well as examples of effective actions that can be taken to manage these hazards and improve employee wellbeing.

Our Challenge

As a business, Aptean's Respond platform includes a 'vulnerability detection' feature which enables organizations to identify their vulnerable customers in order to treat them more fairly and support them appropriately. This is functionality that has never been more relevant. With vulnerability so close to what we do and the world as uncertain as it now is, our team wanted to make a difference to those out there feeling vulnerable, customers and employees alike, and decided to support the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) with a view to helping those who need the support of CALM's services.

CALM is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. CALM runs a free and confidential helpline and webchat open 7 days a week, from 5pm - midnight, for anyone who needs to talk about life's problems.

Throughout the pandemic, the Aptean Respond team have been working from home and, with a view to boosting wellbeing, have taken on a new challenge — to raise money for CALM. As a team we’re covering the distance from London to our Atlanta office, almost 7,000km in total, by jogging, running, walking or cycling, supported by donations from friends, family and colleagues, all of which will go to CALM.

For more information about our Respond to Vulnerability challenge watch our video:

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