With prime minister Boris Johnson set later today to announce the timeframe for the UK’s first steps out of the current lockdown, research has suggested that more than one in five employees (22%) still feels anxious about the latest restrictions, although staff felt more prepared this time round than before last year’s lockdowns.
According to research released by health insurer Canada Life, just a third of staff working from home were accepting of lockdown, but 65% felt more prepared for it than before previous ones.
Yet, younger staff and women in particular were still feeling the strain, the Opinium survey of 2,000 people found.
Twenty-six per cent of working women felt anxious, compared with 19% of men. Women also felt worried (20%) and depressed about the current rules, compared with 16% and 15% of men respectively.
Only a quarter of those aged 18- to 34-years-old were “accepting” of lockdown, compared with 50% of over-55s.
Asked what they were doing to cope with the situation, those polled said they had strengthened relationships with family and friends (26%), started to use mindfulness/meditation apps (16%) or used more support from workplace schemes (15%).
Those in the 18 to 34 age group were more than twice (69%) as likely to use a support service to cope better mentally during the first lockdown than over-55s (32%). Support service usage for the current lockdown had increased to 78% of 18-34-year-olds and 34% of over-55s.
“There is no blueprint, or guide on how to protect your mental health through a pandemic so it’s really important that employers understand the role they play in supporting their workforce. With many of us working from home the potential for employees to feel isolated or overwhelmed is heightened and it’s therefore encouraging that people are now feeling more confident in dealing with this lockdown,” said Dan Crook, protection sales director at Canada Life.
“Support for many may be as simple as taking the time to speak to family, colleagues and friends or turning to virtual services such as mindfulness apps and workplace support. It’s extremely encouraging to see that uptake for these coping mechanisms has increased as people look to better equip themselves with the help and guidance they need.
“It’s equally important that employers highlight such support where possible and raise awareness of it among their workforce, whether that be access to virtual GP services, mental health or burnout prevention, or even nutrition and health coaching.”