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Workers In Scotland Struggle With A Lack Of Social Interaction As Wellbeing Drops During Lockdown

·        66% of workers in Scotland rated their wellbeing positive before lockdown restrictions, dropping to 34% since lockdown has been in place

·        23% of professionals report that a lack of social interaction has had the greatest impact on their wellbeing 

·        42% of professionals say having adequate mental health support from their employer has also become more important since lockdown

Wellbeing amongst Scotland’s professionals has taken a dive since lockdown restrictions were enforced in March, according to a new survey by recruiting experts, Hays, as the company urges employers to consider the effect working remotely in lockdown is having on their staff.

From a survey of 1,150 professionals, close to two thirds (66%) rated their wellbeing as positive before restrictions were put in place, but only 34% said it remained positive since lockdown. Those who rated their wellbeing as negative rose from 6% to 23%.

The main reasons for the decline were cited as lack of social interaction (23%), followed by isolation and loneliness (13%), and boredom (11%). Juggling the demands of childcare (11%) and an increase in workload (9%) were also contributing factors.

“The importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace has really been highlighted in recent months, and this may be a good time for employers to review their policies, especially for the longer term,” commented Akash Marwaha, Hays managing director in Scotland.

“Over three-quarters of professionals who responded to the survey believe that their employer has a responsibility to look after their wellbeing, but this doesn’t seem to be happening during the lockdown. Because the virus is having such a major impact on working lives, in so many different ways, the wellbeing of staff needs to be a top priority.

“We know that restrictions are likely to continue for some time to come with only very slow changes. Embedding good mental health working practices now would be a worthwhile way of ensuring that they continue after lockdown.”

Some of the steps managers can take include regular video updates with their teams, being flexible with schedules and expectations, and offering counselling and wellbeing training.

Marwaha accepts that many employers are focused on business survival currently, and mental health may come low on the list of priorities. But he suggests that some resources can be diverted during these unprecedented times to review workplace processes, and to consult workers on their opinions and ideas on better, and different, ways of working going forward.

“The old ways of office life and working are unlikely to return for a long time, if at all. We need to start changing our workplace mindset, both physically and mentally.”

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