According to ONS figures, 370,000 workers were made redundant in the three months leading to September, and according to the government’s economic watchdog unemployment is likely to reach 2.6 million in 2021. Therefore, workplace stress because of economic insecurity has also been projected to rise as businesses go under due to the pandemic.
Data tracked by mental health app 87% and outlined in their Mental Wellbeing Report has found that the pandemic has indirectly influenced workplace mental health and will continue to do unless further support is provided to employees.
User scores showed that of loneliness rose from April to May; they then declined over the summer as the first lockdown ended, only to then to rise again at the start of November. This trend the report said has further entrenched an issue that has been increasing over the last 30 years, which have further severer psychological implications such as depression and anxiety, as well as physical health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and stroke.
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Covid-19 has created new causes of workplace stress
Another finding of the report was that wellbeing in the workplace has dramatically dipped since March, which reflects feelings of workplace insecurity, as the public discussion moves on from job retention schemes and onto the substantial amount of public debt and economic insecurity caused to a considerable degree by the pandemic.
These feelings of workplace stress imply that people are struggling to prioritise plans with over a third of people replying that ‘it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most’, and almost half of people reporting that they are ‘finding it difficult to know what path to follow’.
Similarly, researcher Dr Eric Shiu also identified this trend in a survey of 700 UK workers, which found that the pandemic has transformed the usual workplace indicator of stress – vast workloads – to a fear of job loss, and a concern of being exposed to the virus in the workplace.
Addressing the causes of this stress will not be easy, as they revolve around circumstances that are outside the control of employers. However, Dr Serra Pitts, Clinical Director of 87% and a member of the British Psychological Society, said that businesses could assist in providing support for employees, and commented:
"To address the pressing issues, businesses need to make sure managers are setting an example to their teams and making wellbeing a priority. Ensuring a healthy work-life balance and allowing all employees to enjoy uninterrupted personal time will re-energise them. Meanwhile, staff will appreciate honest communication about concerns and issues and respect managers who talk openly and are comfortable with being vulnerable.”
"Most importantly, businesses need measures in place that give them accurate insights into how staff are faring. A platform like 87% allows businesses to direct appropriate interventions at the right time. Interactive dashboards provide managers with insights that they can correlate with other important HR metrics, such as turnover and engagement, to enhance productivity. Accurate data facilitates fact-based decisions, removes the guesswork and takes mental health from being reactive to being proactive."