Employee RelationsNews

Employees ‘never fully switch off’, Aviva finds

Increases in anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to employees feeling less fulfilled by work and life, according to a recent report by Aviva.

The ‘Embracing the Age of Ambiguity’ report was conducted by Quadrangle on behalf of Aviva in February 2020, and repeated in August 2020 with data collected from 2,000 UK employees working in organisations with over 1,000 employees.

The research showed the percentage of employees that have taken zero sick days over a three-month period has risen 17% points since before the pandemic (67% to 84%), with more than a third (34%) saying they have carried on working even when they felt unwell.

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Almost half of employees surveyed (44%) said they feel like they “never fully switch off” from work, with 63% (18-24-year-olds), stating that they regularly check emails outside of working hours, up from 48% in February.

As a result, more than half of the respondents said they are neglecting their physical (58%) and mental (55%) health due to the “pressures of work”, and almost half (43%) said that they are “troubled” by how much their work interferes with their personal life.

Debbie Bullock, wellbeing lead at Aviva, said: “Without the usual bookends of commutes or school runs to help structure the day, many employees find it hard to switch off.

“The working environment can be a key driver of mental health conditions amongst the working population, so it’s no surprise that the blurring of lines between home and work has contributed towards the increasing numbers reporting mental health issues.”

She added: “Our research suggests the pandemic may have exacerbated the issue. Without the usual bookends of commutes or school runs to help structure the day, many employees find it hard to switch off. Plus, juggling work and home life in the same location has been stressful for many, with employees feeling they are never entirely at work, but never fully away from it either.

“Christmas is usually a time of year when employees can switch off, but without offices to step away from, many will struggle to detach from work. Happier employees are not only extremely important for the survival and performance of organisations, but they are also a magnet for the best talent out there.”

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