The impact of working from home on mental wellbeing

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Apr 23, 2021 4:15:00 PM

Faced with a virus as contagious as Covid-19, there really was no other choice. In March 2020, workplaces that were able to, closed their doors and staff were asked to work from home.

Practically overnight, millions of people saw their homes become their workplaces.

But while this brought a number of advantages – reduced commuting, better work-life balance and a boost for the environment – it also created a number of challenges. 

Now, more than a year after the UK’s first lockdown, we’re seeing employees dealing with everything from remote working burnout to video call fatigue.

No one can argue the health benefits of remote working, but we can’t ignore the mental health consequences either.

Mental health challenges of WFH

Early in the pandemic, workers appeared to relish the new-found freedom of working from home. Research by McKinsey revealed that 80% of home workers enjoyed it, while 69% said they were as – if not more – productive than in the office.

But that was 12 months ago.

More recent research, carried out by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) earlier this year, shows that working from home has taken an emotional toll on employees. According to its findings, 29% of people feel remote working has been worse for their health and wellbeing than working in an office.

Among those who felt their health and wellbeing had suffered, 67% said they felt less connected to their colleagues, 46% were not doing as much exercise, 39% reported having developed musculoskeletal problems, and 37% said they suffered from disturbed sleep.

Meanwhile, according to a report by Microsoft, more than half (53%) of home workers feel they need to be available at all times – meaning they are rarely away from their computer screens.

Improving employee wellbeing – and productivity

The effects may not have been immediate, but the shift to remote working has had a significant impact on many workers across the UK. Add to that a year of lockdowns, social distancing and travel restrictions, and it’s no wonder so many are feeling isolated and anxious.

A survey published this month reveals that two-thirds of London workers want to return to their workplace in June. A clear sign that many want out after a year of working remotely.

So as businesses make plans for the future (for many a combination of remote and office working), what can they do to ensure the wellbeing of their employees doesn’t suffer further?

As we move towards the new working normal, workplace mental health must be a priority for businesses. There are a number of steps employers can take to support their staff, including:

-        Placing health and wellbeing at the centre of business operations

-        Continuing to offer a range of flexible working options

-        Supporting all workers with the tools and advice they need to perform and innovate

One way to achieve all three of these goals is by investing in a dedicated employee wellbeing service.

A forward-thinking approach to staff wellbeing

Skye Wellbeing offer an employee wellbeing app that costs businesses just a few pounds per person, per month, but carries a wealth of benefits for employees. 

The app offers staff specialist health and wellbeing advice with the aim of reducing stress, improving wellbeing and building a happier, healthier workforce.

On top of that, staff can access unlimited online doctor consultations and enjoy a number of perks and retail discounts to help their salary go a bit further each month.

At Skye Wellbeing, we are helping businesses support their people when they’re working from home and as they transition back into the office.

Let us help your business adapt to the health and wellbeing needs of your workforce. Find out about our all-in-one wellbeing package and see how it can help boost your employee engagement and productivity.

Get in touch with the team for more information or to schedule a free demo.

Request a call back

If you’d like to talk to us or find out more about Skye Wellbeing, we’d be delighted to help. To arrange a chat, just send us your details and we’ll be back in touch.

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