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The effects of COVID-19 on employees and the workplace

It’s fair to say that the last few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions for many people.

Back in April, new figures published by the Office for National Statistics showed that 86% of people working from home did so as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the pandemic has not only changed the approach to working from home. It’s had long-lasting implications on the way that we work and the way that we feel about work.

We take a look at some of the most recent surveys surrounding the effects of COVID-19 on employees and the workplace.

The mental health impact of COVID-19

As we’ve explored in previous blogs, the coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on people’s mental health and runs the risk of increasing the instances of workplace burnout during COVID-19.

According to a survey conducted in mid-June by the Mental Health Foundation, one in five adults still feel hopeless as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions are relaxed and lifted.

There is some evidence that things are improving though.

Levels of anxiety and worry about the pandemic have fallen from 62% at the beginning of lockdown to 49% more recently.

The Guardian put together a visual guide of charts using survey results that illustrated five areas of mental strain faced by people across the UK.

This included statistics from surveys conducted by mental health charities, which found that 59% of people reported their mental health had worsened during lockdown.

The opportunity here is for businesses and organisations to recognise the impact that the pandemic has had on their staff and continue to offer help and advice through occupational health services and other support structures.

Flexible working in the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s important to remember that some positive changes have come out of this turbulent time.

With so many people working from home, it’s hardly surprising that recent research by Dale Office Interiors found that nearly three-quarters of business leaders are now planning to adopt flexible and agile working.

Despite this, face-to-face meetings will still be vital, albeit with social distancing measures in place. Which is why many organisations are starting to look at their own return-to-work strategies.

When working life returns to a new kind of normal, more employees are likely to want to continue working from home. Or at least have the flexibility to choose for themselves where and how they work.

Working Families surveyed over a thousand working parents and found that more than 9 in 10 wanted their workplace to retain flexible working post-COVID-19.

The CIPD also published new findings on the impact of COVID-19 on working lives.

It highlighted the importance of recognising that remote working didn’t necessarily equal flexibility.

In many cases, this was due to caring responsibilities that had increased since the outbreak. In fact, 30% of the employees surveyed said their ability to work had been impacted by changes in caring responsibilities.

This is a time of rapid change. How employers communicate with and support staff as they return to work, whether that’s in the workplace or working from home, will have an impact for years to come.

If you’d like to find out how the team at Fusion can help to support employees in these uncertain times, contact us today.

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Categories: CoronavirusHealth & WellbeingMental HealthOccupational Health

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