A healthy and happy workforce is a productive and successful one – that kind of goes without saying.
But the events of the past 14 months have hit people hard.
As human beings, we crave interaction and personal relationships – and the physical act of going to work plays a really important role in this. For many, work is so much more than a means to pay the bills. It can boost our self esteem and give us a sense of purpose; it can give us an opportunity to build friendships and an active social life; and it can offer a lifeline to those who may not have a strong family unit or network of friends to call on in times of need.
Out of site, out of mind
There are many factors leading to people’s increased stress levels at the moment; and as we find our personal and professional lives more interwoven than ever before, there’s no denying that the shift in ways of working during the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on people’s mental health.
Our research shows that around 10 million people are currently working from home – that’s a third of the UK workforce; and 15% of those say that their mental health has suffered due to stress caused by this.
More than 900,000 workers say that their experience of working from home has led to them drinking more alcohol and experiencing increased sleep problems. Yet, despite these high numbers, four out of 10 employees have received no mental health support from their employer.
The old mantra of leaving work at the office seems inconceivable in today’s world. Isolation, reduced personal contact and the increased crossover of home and work life is causing mental health to suffer – and while this shouldn’t be solely attributed to work factors, they certainly play a significant part.
And this is why organisations can’t afford to overlook the mental wellbeing – or general health and safety – of their people. Regardless of whether an employee is in the office or at their kitchen table, making time to support those you are responsible for should be part of your day-to-day routine.
Advances in technology have allowed a huge amount of organisations to continue business as usual throughout this difficult time, but while many companies have have been focused on the more practical aspects of working from home, their duty of care for employee mental health seems to have fallen by the wayside.