Fall in wellbeing
Isolation sees remote working lose its appeal
More workers are operating remotely, but some feel cut off (pic: Terry Murden)
The prospect of more employees opting to work from home has taken a knock after a new survey pointed to an increasing sense of isolation and boredom during the lockdown.
With millions of Britons now working from remotely, many from home, employers will need to consider the effect working remotely in lockdown is having on their staff, according to recruitment firm Hays.
From a survey of 1,150 professionals, close to two thirds (66%) rated their wellbeing as positive before restrictions were put in place, but only 34% said it remained positive since lockdown. Those who rated their wellbeing as negative rose from 6% to 23%.
The main reasons for the decline were lack of social interaction (23%), followed by isolation and loneliness (13%), and boredom (11%). Juggling the demands of childcare (11%) and an increase in workload (9%) were also contributing factors.
The results come after recent evidence suggesting more people will either volunteer or be asked to work from home on a regular or permanent basis.
Akash Marwaha, Hays managing director in Scotland, said employers had to address the concerns of those working from home.
“The importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace has really been highlighted in recent months, and this may be a good time for employers to review their policies, especially for the longer term,” he said.
“Over three-quarters of professionals who responded to the survey believe that their employer has a responsibility to look after their wellbeing, but this doesn’t seem to be happening during the lockdown.”
He advises regular video updates with their teams, being flexible with schedules and expectations, and offering counselling and wellbeing training.
Mr Marwaha accepts that many employers are focused on business survival currently, and mental health may come low on the list of priorities.
But he suggests that some resources can be diverted during these unprecedented times to review workplace processes, and to consult workers on their opinions and ideas on better, and different, ways of working.
“The old ways of office life and working are unlikely to return for a long time, if at all. We need to start changing our workplace mindset, both physically and mentally,” he said.