With lockdown restrictions being re-imposed across many countries, new insights from four major global markets have revealed the significant impact they have had on office worker performance and productivity already, according to research published by Aetna International.
According to the research over 4,000 office workers across UK, USA, Singapore and UAE, commissioned by Aetna International, a leading provider of health and wellness benefits and population health solutions worldwide, three quarters stated that performance and productivity has suffered considerably due to mental health pressures related to the covid-19 pandemic with younger workers in particular, 88% of those aged 18-24, most affected.
For businesses, the findings highlight potential major issues to come with the many factors negatively impacting worker performance so far since the covid-19 outbreak began. These include poor mental health (74%), long working hours (70%), blurred lines between work and home life (67%) as well as remote working set-up (66%).
The findings suggest that covid-19 is increasingly segregating employees’ health and wellness needs according to a range of factors including age, work locality and gender."
The research was commissioned by Aetna International as part of an ongoing investigation into the health pressures facing employees globally and the steps that businesses could take to address these. Workers between the ages of 18 and 34 have been most affected.
Eight in ten workers aged 25-34 said that stress over working long hours had hindered their productivity, while just over three quarters (76%) of 18-24 year olds said the struggle to separate work and home life had negatively impacted their performance.
Richard di Benedetto, president at Aetna International said: "As heightened restrictions and lockdown measures are now in play across the globe, it has never been more crucial for employers to understand the pressures facing their employees."
"The findings suggest that covid-19 is increasingly segregating employees' health and wellness needs according to a range of factors including age, work locality and gender. Businesses have an opportunity here to rapidly evolve their approach to worker support to ensure it is on-point."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the economic impact of the pandemic has created anxiety that is further impacting employee health and productivity. 71% of global workers said worrying about being furloughed, experiencing pay cuts or losing their job had negatively impacted their performance.
This was a particular issue for workers in Singapore, where 77% agreed this was an issue compared to 66% in the UK, 70% in the US and 72% in UAE.
These worries are also being felt keenly by younger workers; nearly eight in ten (77%) workers globally aged 18-24 said that anxiety over furloughs, pay cuts or losing their job had negatively impacted their performance, compared to a much lower (though still significant) 52% of those aged over 55.
In addition, disruption to personal lives and living conditions has been a considerable source of stress throughout the pandemic. Nearly two thirds (64%) of workers aged 25-34 said that pressure on their personal relationships had impacted their work since covid-19 began, compared to just over half of (54%) of all workers globally.
While two thirds (66%) of all workers said that stress caused by being locked down with friends, family or housemates had a negative impact on their performance at work, this increased to 76% for those aged 18-24 and 73% for workers aged 25-34. Meanwhile far less (52%) of those aged 45-54 reported the same issues.
These pressures were exacerbated for a third of global workers (33%) who said that senior leadership not being available to discuss their job concerns had negatively impacted their work performance.