In the UK, a worrying number of the working age population report feeling stressed at work, and when long hours and tight deadlines are coupled with working remotely, this can begin to take a huge toll. While fears over contracting Covid-19 are continually growing, the physical health of workers isn’t the only factor businesses should be monitoring, rather it is vital that employers consider the huge mental strain their staff may be facing.
Managing remote teams can present an uncharted challenge for business leaders who are used to relying on social interactions to gauge the sentiment of their workforce.
For many, working from home can mean experiencing an “always on” culture, exacerbated by not being able to switch off and change environments at the end of the working day. When this is combined with new pressures such as school closures, and questions around job security, it has the potential to cause employee burnout.
The Leading in a Digital Age report, published by The City & Guilds Group in 2019, highlighted a worrying discrepancy in how senior management and employees view psychological safety in the workplace:
- Despite 94% of respondents saying that they consider psychological safety to be important, just 10% of businesses are seen to treat it as a priority.
- With one in five businesses admitting to having no measures in place to support psychological safety and would only take action once an issue arises, the research suggests businesses are taking the “wait and see” approach to employee mental health.
Elizabeth McManus, Head of Leading Transformation and Engagement at City & Guilds Group, comments: “The effects of Covid-19 over the last month have been vast. Not only disrupting communities, businesses and financial systems globally, but significantly impacting the way we work. This is resulting in changes and significant pressures at every level – organisational and individual – as people find new ways to sustain their businesses and new ways to work remotely. With this is mind, leaders and managers are very aware of the additional anxiety many of their employees may be facing during this pandemic. City & Guilds Group is calling on employers, leaders and managers alike to take the lead in adapting company practices to ensure they are considering the mental wellbeing of their staff during these troubling times.”