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Fewer Britons report a sense of belonging at work when compared to pre-pandemic

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Corporate / United Kingdom

Fewer Britons report a sense of belonging at work when compared to pre-pandemic

LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ indicates that nearly half of Britons do their job when feeling unwell at least one day per week

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™, revealing a negative mental-health score among Britons for the 17th consecutive month.

Key findings:

  • Overall mental-health score of -10.7 compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark, reaching its highest point since the launch of the index in April 2020.
  • In the latest survey, 71 per cent of respondents indicated that prior to the pandemic, they felt a sense of belonging and acceptance at work, but only 63 per cent felt the same during the past month.
  • Meanwhile, 28 per cent of respondents indicated that before the pandemic, they were unsure or did not feel a sense of belonging, compared to 37 per cent feeling the same during the past month.
  • This trend is seen across all age groups, however, the proportion of employees who report feeling a sense of belonging and acceptance at work increases with older age groups.

British employees who feel a sense of belonging and acceptance have higher mental-health scores:

  • The majority of employees (66 per cent) who are working at a jobsite feel a greater sense of belonging and acceptance at work than those who work from home or in hybrid workplace.
  • The 63 per cent of respondents who felt a sense of belonging and acceptance at work during the past month, had the highest mental-health score (-3.2) and the best isolation score (-2.6) compared to those who were unsure or did not feel the same way.

Comments from managing director, United Kingdom and Europe, Philip Mullen

“The virtual working environment that has become the reality for many Britons over the past year has pushed employees to be more proactive in seeking collaboration with colleagues. While many employees are eager to return to the physical workplace or adopt a hybrid model to regain in-person connections with colleagues, isolation will take on new meaning for others that aren’t provided with the same opportunity due to location or balancing at-home responsibilities. To avoid a divide between those working remotely and those operating from the physical jobsite, employers should build an inclusive culture and sustain employee motivation by creating an accepting and collaborative environment for all.”

British employees report working while unwell on weekly basis, contributing to productivity loss:

  • Nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) report doing their job when feeling unwell (physically or psychologically) at least one day per week. The mental-health scores among this group are significantly below those who report never working while feeling unwell.
  • Fifty-three per cent of respondents indicate that they never work while feeling unwell. This group has the most favourable mental-health score, at more than one point above the pre-2020 benchmark (+1.1).
  • Fifty-five per cent of parents report working when feeling unwell at least one day per week, compared to 42 per cent of non-parents.
  • Additionally, respondents who have a mental-health score of -40 or lower, are estimated to have a productivity loss of 27 per cent, compared to those with a mental-health score of +10 or more with a productivity loss of 11 per cent.

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, Paula Allen

“Productivity has been one of the core focus areas for British employers throughout the pandemic. At the outset, many employers expressed concerns over employees’ ability to remain productive while working in a remote setting. While this assumption has been ruled out in most workplaces, with employees demonstrating increased productivity while working remotely, our research demonstrates that a significant proportion of employees are sacrificing their own wellbeing in order to do so. This can have detrimental long-term physical and mental-health effects, and it’s critical that employers build a positive culture that mitigates burnout and supports employee wellbeing.”

The full British LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on the impact of remote work on mental strain, reasons for missed time from work due to illness, employees’ ideal work situations and more.

About the Mental Health Index

The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey from July 30 to August 5, 2021, with 2,000 respondents in the United Kingdom. All respondents reside in the United Kingdom and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

About LifeWorks

LifeWorks is a world leader in providing digital and in-person solutions that support the total wellbeing of individuals. We deliver a personalised continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business.


Heather MacDonald

Angela Pinzon
Kaiser & Partners

Source: LifeWorks