Before the pandemic, spending more time working from home was hailed as the perfect solution, yet we’ve just conducted some research among UK office workers that shows that since lockdown they have been working more hours than ever before and this has been having a detrimental effect on their mental health.
Over half (51%) of those we surveyed said they had been working outside of their contractual hours since lockdown, with the average UK worker putting an extra 59 hours, or 7 working days into their job over 5 months.
For many, lockdown has been particularly challenging, with a third (32%) saying it has brought them closer to burnout. Workers felt that the longer hours due to having their workstation close to them (31%) and the lack of social interaction (27%) had contributed to making the time particularly difficult.
Life is certainly challenging for some: the millennial generation, who make up 50% of the UK workforce* are now experiencing the second economic recession in their adult lifetime. Adding to their anxiety includes working longer hours while working from home (59%), being unable to separate work and personal life (42%), and facing an uncertain, increasingly competitive job market (33%).
At alternative ends of those working, almost half (48%) of those over 50 have been unable to take a proper break since lockdown, and almost 6 in 10 (58%) of Gen Zers are feeling the strain of the “always on” culture.
Sadly, nearly half (49%) of those in our survey said they have gone so far as quitting a job due to stress, and over a quarter (29%) would be open to taking unpaid leave if they were faced with burnout.
With many people looking to lower their stress levels, 1 in 5 of those surveyed said they have turned to meditation or yoga to relax outside of work.
That’s why we’re committed to ensuring plenty of natural light, air purifying plants and break out areas such as meditation suites, outside spaces, yoga classes or gyms are available in as many of our buildings as possible.
The recently renovated United House in Notting Hill houses a dedicated wellness studio, where members can take guided meditation sessions and yoga classes daily. And as you’ll see on this page, we’ve extended some free meditation sessions in partnership with wellness experts, OPO, so that everyone can access them no matter where they are based.