34% of employees struggle with mental health when working from home

One third of staff struggle with mental health whilst working from home

Over one-third (34%) of employees that are working from home feel it has a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, according to research by market research organisation Opinium.

In its study of 1,250 UK employees, published April 2020, the organisation found that  over one-half (57%) of UK employees are now working from home due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Its research found two in five (46%) of respondents feel isolated, while just over one-third (36%) are concerned about the long-term impacts that the long period of working from home can have on their mental health. However, half (51%) feel more relaxed while working from home.

The study also found that that almost one in five (47%) of those living alone are struggling with their mental health.

For working parents, 41% admit that they are seeing an increase in their stress levels dealing with their children who are under the age of 18. Over one-half (57%) find it difficult to work with their children at home. One in four (40%) are finding it difficult to keep children occupied during the day, with one in three (32%) citing home-schooling their children challenging and one in four (26%) are finding their children too noisy for them to concentrate fully on their work.

Additionally, 30% of repsondents are struggling because they do not have a dedicated work space, while 39% struggle to balance work and general caring responsibilities.

However, 40% of employees who are currently working from home feel more supported by their employers now than before the pandemic started. However only one in five (20%) of those not working from home feel the same.

Managers are also more likely to report that working from home has had a negative impact on their mental wellbeing, with 36% suffering from this.

The research also found that one-half (50%) of managers are struggling to find a work-life balance, compared to 37% of other employees who feel the same way.

Sophie Holland, senior research executive at Opinium, said: “Even before the current lockdown, there were already significant barriers in place preventing employees from talking about their mental health at work. Now more than ever, it is important to understand the strain this can have on our mental health, especially as it is easier to blur the lines between work and home.

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“Employees need to be able to set clear boundaries, trying to keep their working hours balanced and have a separate workspace if possible. It is also important to try and stay connected, virtual calls with colleagues, friends, mentors and line managers can be a vital source of support and advice during this period.

“Employers should also listen to their staff and if required, offer access to counselling over the phone or a helpline for employees to use when they need it.”