State of the nation

We all know that the environment in which we work can have a crucial role in helping maintain our wellbeing:  which is why we embed wellness at the heart of our building design

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.

Tips to help avoid burnout

We’ve partnered with consultant psychiatrist Dr Sarah Vohra, aka The Mind Medic, to share further advice on how to spot the signs of heightened stress and exhaustion at work.

1. Make clear distinctions between your day and night-time routines

Whether you are commuting to the office, or working from home, make sure you have consistent wake and sleep times. This helps regulate your body’s 24-hour circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle.

2. Set aside ‘must-dos’ for the day and write them down

Studies show that the more tasks we commit to simultaneously, the lower our attention span is. This can affect how quickly we complete our tasks, with time often wasted switching between them, making us less efficient and more prone to making mistakes.

3. Exposure to natural sunlight

Your 24-hour body clock relies on repeated patterns of loss of light (night) and return of light (day) to help reset it. Studies show that workers in workplaces with windows not only had significantly more sunlight exposure during work hours, but also slept an average of 46 minutes more each night.

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**survey conducted between 27th August- 3rd September 2020 by 72point on behalf of TOG (The Office Group), of 2,000 UK nationally representative adults in the UK.  Hours/minutes calculation based on average of 31.79 minutes respondents said they worked extra per day during lockdown, multiplied by number of working days between 23rd March and 27th August 2020.