Half of employees say their job is main source of mental health challenges

mental healthMore than half of employed people in the UK (58 percent) say their job is the main source of their mental health challenges according to new research from Qualtrics which also claims that more employees in the UK would prioritise the ability to choose which hours of the day they work (55 percent) and what days of the week they work (22 percent) over the ability to work remotely from any location (14 percent).

With the move to remote work during the pandemic, 69 percent of workers say the lines between work and life have become increasingly blurred. Even more than the ability to work at home in their pyjamas or on a beach, what employees really want is flexibility around when they work. They’re ready to move past a strict 9-to-5 schedule and mould work to fit their needs, like doing laundry between meetings, going to doctors’ appointments or taking care of kids.

The vast majority (79 percent) of employed people want to be in control of their schedules and have their performance measured purely by results. Over four in five workers (83 percent) said a four day work week would improve their mental health, with 88 percent saying paid mental health days would make them feel more loyal to their employer.

“Flexibility has become a buzzword as employees have embraced new styles of working during the pandemic. But it’s important to look deeper at what flexibility really means,“ said head of employee experience advisory services at Qualtrics, Benjamin Granger, Ph.D. “As work and home life have become increasingly connected — and employees continue juggling childcare responsibilities and caretaking needs for themselves and sick family members — they’re asking for flexible schedules that fit better with the demands of their lives.”

But changing policies is not enough, workplace culture has to support the success of a flexible workplace, according to Granger. Fifty-five percent say they think their career advancement or pay will suffer if they take advantage of flexible policies at work. There’s also a need for boundaries. Many remote employees say they start their days earlier (16 percent), take fewer sick days (13 percent) and are working more overall (14 percent). Fifty-three percent say there is a downside to too much flexibility and they would prefer having some amount of structure to their work day.

Other findings:

  • 24 percent say more flexibility over their hours and schedule would influence them to stay at a company longer
  • Only 4 percent say they already have a job where their performance is measured purely by results and the hours and days they work are not tracked
  • The top reasons people support being in control of their schedules are: 1) it would increase efficiency 2) it would help them focus 3) it would bring more attention to their contributions and achievements
  • 25 percent of employees are fully remote
    • 27 percent of remote workers have worked from the sofa, 19 percent from a bed, 12 percent from a different city, 7 percent from a car. Some have worked from a beach and whilst camping.
  • 30 percent would be willing to take a 5 percent pay cut or more in order to work remotely long-term

40 percent of tech workers would be willing to take a pay cut, compared to 20 percent of government workers and 20 percent of travel, hospitality and food workers