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Seven in 10 Australians are comfortable with less social interaction than pre-pandemic

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Corporate / Mental Health / Australia / ID-CORP / ID-MH

Seven in 10 Australians are comfortable with less social interaction than pre-pandemic

LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ reveals 71 per cent of Australian workers would be fine with reduced socialising

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital and in-person total wellbeing solutions, today released its monthly Mental Health Index™ that showed 71 per cent of Australians are comfortable with less social interaction than pre-pandemic and that this group has a mental health score two points higher than the national average. Additionally, more than half of Australians are, or possibly are, rethinking their career goals in terms of both focus and longevity as a result of the pandemic.

The Index found that Australian workers are still under strain with a negative mental health score for the 23rd consecutive month. While the score did improve when compared to January, this month’s score remains lower than the pre-pandemic mental health benchmark of 0.0.

  • The Mental Health Index™ score for February 2022 is -11.8, a slight improvement from January’s score of -11.9.

Prolonged impacts of the pandemic are driving working Australians to consider career changes that may include retraining, not just job changes

  • Thirty-six per cent of Australians have altered career goals due to the pandemic, with workers aged 40 and younger 65 per cent more likely to report their goals have changed than those 50 and older.
  • Fifteen per cent of Australians will make a career change. This group has a mental health score of -20.8, more than nine points below the national average.
  • Thirty-one per cent are considering retraining for a different career.
  • Fifteen per cent are considering retiring and this group has the second-highest mental health score.
  • Managers are nearly 70 per cent more likely than non-managers to report they will be making a career change because of the pandemic.

Comments from senior vice president managing director, Asia-Pacific, Jamie MacLennan
“The many challenges and uncertainties that workers have faced over the last 23 months continue to impact Australians on both a personal and professional level. It has also dramatically altered how employees view the future of their careers. While acknowledgement of this trend is an important first step for employers, tangible action is required to ensure employees feel supported and remain committed to not only their organisations, but their fields at large.”

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, Paula Allen
“With isolation, remote work, and social distancing becoming the new norm, individuals across Australia have become accustomed to and comfortable with reduced social interactions. As organisations prepare for a return to their post-pandemic environment, it would be wise to be aware that previous levels of interaction may not return immediately. Managers should focus on ensuring that employees feel connected whether they are working from home, in the office, or hybrid. Individuals should be aware that less social interaction may not be in their best interest, as positive social experiences are helpful for stress and wellbeing.”

The full Australian LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. This month, the report includes additional insights on Australians’ ability to be themselves at work and the prevalence of career changes unrelated to the pandemic.

About the Mental Health Index™
The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey from February 1 and 8, 2022 with 1,000 respondents in Australia. All respondents reside in Australia 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 personalized continuum of care that helps our clients improve the lives of their people and by doing so, improve their business.


Heather MacDonald

Jennifer Farr
Kaiser & Partners

Source: LifeWorks