Work-life balance disrupted by Quarantine – what are the effects of presenteeism on UK mental health?
Depression specialists Smart TMS launch support helpline, enabling struggling professionals to restore balance
Britain has now been in lockdown for over a month and millions of employees across the country have been forced to work from home indefinitely - the ONS estimates that almost half (47%) of all employees in Britain have been working from home during the course of the lockdown, whilst in June 2019, the figure stood at a mere 4.7% of all employees. Whilst the notion of working from home and flexible working had gained significant traction prior to the lockdown, the sudden transformation of working life has forced millions to work from home for the first time, with no experience of how to be as productive as in the office or when is acceptable to clock off in an age of presenteeism, which a survey last year marked as affecting 83% of workplaces.
Mental health treatment specialists Smart TMS are encouraging Britain’s burnt-out workers to seek help, launching a national helpline to provide dedicated support to anyone struggling with the mental health consequences of Covid-19.
With this in mind, Smart TMS now reveal nationally representative research, showcasing the extent to which presenteeism has affected the health of Britain’s employees, even before the lockdown:
· A third of Brits regularly exceed the EU’s maximum working limit, working over 50 hours a week
· Over half (51%) of all Brits believe that the decision-makers in their workplace are out of touch with the processes required to ensure their teams work efficiently and productively
· Nearly half (45%) of all Brits believe work laptops and mobile phones mean they never truly switch off, feeling obliged to check and answer emails late at night or in the early hours of the morning
· 37% of Britain's workers do not have time or motivation to seek professional development due to their workload
· A quarter of Brits - 26% - feel that they have not received the required training to do their job efficiently
Depression, stress and anxiety support helpline
In light of the devastating impact of quarantine on our work-life balance, depression and anxiety specialists Smart TMS have launched a free mental health helpline to provide support for those struggling with mental health concerns brought about by Covid-19.
The helpline provides callers with an opportunity to directly book up to five 30-minute appointments with one of Smart TMS’ qualified mental health practitioners, and receive support and advice on how to manage their mental health concerns, as early as the next day. This provides a vital alternative to oversubscribed NHS talking therapies and other charity helplines, whose waiting lists stretch from several weeks to over 6 months.
CEO of Smart TMS, Gerard Barnes discusses burnout in quarantine and provides tips to avoid it:
“Work-life balance has long been a key issue for many workers in Britain, but the sudden transformation of working life brought about by Covid-19 and indefinite lockdown measures has left millions grappling with the dangers of presenteeism. Long working hours and constant access to phones and laptops has created a culture where employees are ‘always-on’ often to the detriment of their wellbeing and productivity, and the necessity of working from home has blurred the lines of this balance even further.
We must understand that the current working conditions forced upon Britain’s employees will severely impact the nation’s mental health and perception of work. This can have dire consequences for employees and the wider economy as people leave jobs more frequently and the talent pool shrinks. It is therefore of paramount importance that business decision makers are sensitive to the health and wellness of their employees, and equally important that the employees themselves are able to disconnect and successfully manage their mental health.
With this in mind, Smart TMS have launched a free, national helpline to provide support and advice to anyone struggling with the effects of lockdown on their mental wellbeing, and encourage workers to seek the help they need. In the meantime, here are a few tips from the team at Smart TMS for those struggling with their work-life balance to manage their mental wellbeing”:
It may seem counterintuitive when working from home, but proper breaks are essential to maintain focus and produce good quality work. Getting up from your desk to take a few breaths, stretch and disconnect for even a few moments will help you to maintain productivity throughout the day and reduce the effects of mounting stress.
This is a challenging time for all, and managers and decision makers are under extreme pressure to maintain the success of the company. Check-in with your manager when you need to, and be as transparent as you can with your daily workload – this will help to alleviate their concerns, build more trust, and will ultimately lead to a better working relationship and working conditions.
Know when to sign off, and stick to it
Working from home indefinitely makes it extremely hard to maintain a proper work-life balance, so knowing when to sign off, and prioritising your personal care, is essential. Putting in 16-hour days may seem like what your boss wants, but it will only lead you to burn out. It is of course important to work hard and remain as productive as possible throughout the day, but it is vital to ensure that when the time comes to sign out, you prioritise your health and wellbeing first.
When confined to your office and home at the same time, it is important to make sure that you stay active. Whilst it is impossible to go to a gym, we highly recommend taking advantage of the hour of outdoors exercise permitted by the government, as well as engaging in moderate exercise at home, ideally for 30 minutes a day. Exercise is one of the best ways to fight symptoms of mental health problems, and people who are less physically active are more at risk of anxiety and depression.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Make sure to think about your diet carefully - this is vital to both your physical and mental health. Extended periods of working from home and presenteeism will undoubtedly affect your mood and energy levels, so be sure to eat healthily and drink enough water to ensure your body is in its best condition."