Overworking to prove productivity? Here’s everything you need to know about mental health in a COVID-19 workplace.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, for most of us, the combined stress, routine change and isolation has greatly impacted our mental health.
Whether you’re working from home, transitioning back in to the workplace or being pushed to their limits much like our frontline workers, a study conducted by LinkedIn has shown that mental health wellbeing is more important than ever, especially during a pandemic.
The study, conducted in August 2021 and answered by employees now working from home, revealed the impact COVID-19 has had upon the mental health of Australians and how it is impacting them in the workplace. Interestingly, more than one in two Aussies admitted that they have needed to take time off during the pandemic to support their mental wellbeing.
From this, LinkedIn also found that one in five have felt isolated whilst working from home – with feelings of isolation significantly higher in more than 26 per cent of female respondents.
Although there is a huge stigma around mental health awareness and the power of communicating, LinkedIn’s Future of Work research found that from the Australians interviewed, more than three quarters (78 per cent) were open to sharing their mental health status and were happy to talk about their mental health in the workplace.
With 19 per cent admitting that they are reluctant and not comfortable talking about their mental health status at the workplace, Australians are still more open to talking to their fellow colleagues than support services available on-site.
Dr Tim Sharp, positive psychology expert, mental health advocate, Founder of the Happiness Institute and LinkedIn Changemaker said, “We know that happiness and general wellbeing is tied directly to our mental health, which has been tested in ways we never would have imagined over the last year through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s no surprise that it is also having direct implications on how Australians feel in the workplace and the impact these feelings are having on performance.”
From LinkedIn’s Future of Work survey, it also found that today, younger Australians are taking control of their mental health with more than half (52 per cent) have needed time off due to mental health concerns during the COVID-19 lockdowns. From this, those aged from 16 – 24 were the most likely age group to take time off to focus on their mental health wellbeing.
Matt Tindale, country Manager at LinkedIn Australia and New Zealand said, “The uncertainty of lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged workplaces around Australia with mental wellbeing and support now being more critical than ever before. Individuals and teams need more than just tools, businesses should look at it holistically and invest in creating a culture that supports mental wellbeing.”
Overall, in regards to returning to the workplace, two in five workers (40.5 per cent) are concerned or feel negatively about returning to the workplace post the COVID-19 pandemic and, on top of this, 53 per cent of respondents said, “working from home, hybrid and flexible working is better for my mental health than being in the office.”