HR managers fear lockdown may lead to more mental health absences for staff, according to survey

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6th May 2020 13:21 - Business Support

HR managers fear lockdown may lead to more mental health absences for staff: A survey of HR professionals working for medium to large companies, has found that almost six out of 10 (58%) are concerned about losing staff due to mental health issues, such as stress and burnout, during lockdown.

The poll of 1,000 HR managers was conducted by mental health charity, The Mental Health Foundation, alongside LinkedIn, and revealed that more than half of the respondents polled believe that within their own workforce, symptoms of ill mental health due to COVID-19 and home working conditions were already starting to show. These include stress, anxiety and loneliness, according to the research. 

The survey found that since lockdown began, and more people began working from home, more than three-quarters of survey participants feel that a new culture has emerged, which is being dubbed 'e-presenteeism'. This refers to the notion that employees feel they have to be seen to always be 'on' and reachable - even if they're feeling unwell or have come to the end of their normal working hours.

The survey also polled more than 2,000 workers to find out how homeworking was affecting their mental health. It found that employees reported working an additional 28 hours per month on average, since lockdown measures were introduced. 

It also found that 86% of employees working from home due to COVID-19 said the arrangement is having a negative impact on their health. More than half the respondents polled (56%) said they were experiencing increased levels of anxiety and stress during lockdown, while 31% said their sleep is being affected. Around a quarter (24%) admitted  that their mental health was suffering due to the new working scenario. 

There were also positives reported, however, with 44% saying their families are closer as a result of lockdown working, and 54% said they are hopeful that bosses will consider letting staff work from home more often once lockdown measures are lifted.

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