09 June 2020 ,  London

Mental Health Issues Identified as Fourth Biggest Impact in the Coming Year.


In a new survey, over 70% of companies’ primary business continuity concern is further disruption from a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is a keen focus on return to work measures, over a fifth (21%) of the respondents still don’t have a pandemic plan and process in place. Furthermore, over 20% expect mental health issues to also pose a major threat in the coming year. The International SOS Return to Work survey, reveals business operations impacts of COVID-19, as well as the key mitigation measures organisations are prioritising to strengthen. The survey analysed responses from over 1,000 professionals responsible for supporting the health, safety, security, and wellbeing of employees.


Dr Mark Parrish, Regional Medical Director at International SOS, commented, “We are surprised that, while the great majority of companies are fearing a second wave of COVID-19, there are many who still don’t have a pandemic plan in place.”

Are organisations doing enough to return to work safely and combat a second wave?
The survey found that the top two priorities organisations are implementing in their safe return to work are:

  • updating business continuity plans (60%)
  • on-the-ground support for colleagues (59%).

These are followed by implementation of COVID-19 compliance monitoring tools (56%), health screening (50%) and mental health support (44%).

Dr Parrish continues, “It would seem that there are many who are missing out on protecting their people and their business. We should be mindful that there may be a layering of issues, such as security incidents and concurrent health issues, which all need to be addressed alongside the continuing pandemic and as we return to work and operations. There are ‘low hanging’ initiatives that seem to come further down the priority list but could be major risk mitigation assets. For instance, TeleConsultation helps support employee health in all circumstances, including lockdowns and when physical medical consultations are not advised and not necessary.”


Step to be implemented

% of companies planning to implement the step

Updating business continuity plans and protocols


On-the-ground support for employees


COVID-19 compliance monitoring tools


Investing in fit-for-work health screening


Providing more mental health support


Site threat monitoring tools


Analytical tools for assessing return to work / ops


Investing in TeleHealth services for employees


Increased investment in employee healthcare


Mental Health at-risk

The risk to mental health is considered the fourth biggest threat to business continuity in the next 12 months, with over one fifth of respondents fearing that this will have an impact. This follows disruption from a potential COVID-19 second wave (73%), country lockdowns (67%) and international border restrictions (57%). The results revealed that over 17% of those surveyed said that mental health issues had already impacted the continuity of their business operations.

Dr Parrish, said, “The issue of mental health potentially being a major threat to business resilience has been brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. Home working, isolation and the stress of the unknown is taking its toll on many of the workforce. It will be important to address this going forward, extending confidential support to employees whenever and wherever they need it the most.”

For those who want to inform themselves on how return to work safely, take a look at our advice here.

Notes to Editors

About the International SOS Group of Companies

The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting your global workforce from health and security threats. Wherever you are, we deliver customised health, security risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise focus on prevention, offering real-time, actionable insights and on-the-ground quality delivery. We help protect your people, your organisation's reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organisations can fulfil their Duty of Care responsibilities, while empowering business resilience, continuity and sustainability.


Founded in 1985, the International SOS Group, headquartered in London & Singapore, is trusted by 12,000 organisations, including the majority of the Fortune 500, as well as mid-size enterprises, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 12,000 multicultural medical, security and logistics experts stand with you to provide support & assistance from over 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7, 365 days.   

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Issues Currently Affecting Continuity of Operations

% of companies which said it was an issue

Country Lockdown Measures


International Border Controls


Inadequate Home-Working Infrastructure


Lack of Accurate and Timely Information


Mental Health Issues


Lack of Robust Business Continuity Planning