Research suggests men are more likely to struggle with lockdown isolation

mental healthNew research claims that more than three quarters of men who live alone feel isolated while they’re working from home and two fifths of 18-30 year olds feel their mental health has deteriorated. This latest research from The Institute of Leadership & Management ‘Homeworking trials and triumphs during Covid-19: mental health and wellbeing’, explores the impact of working from home on mental health, suggesting  hat a significant number of men who live alone (79 per cent) are struggling with feelings of isolation during lockdown.

Yet this sense of isolation has taken its toll on both men and women who live alone, with 40 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women feeling their mental health has declined as a result of working from home, according to the survey.

The survey suggests:


  • 79 per cent of men who live alone feel isolated and 39 per cent believe their mental health has declined, due to working at home
  • 40 per cent of 18-30 year olds feel their mental health has deteriorated
  • 39 per cent of men living with a partner and children feel isolated, as do 31 per cent of women living with a partner and children
  • 42 per cent of workers have struggled with isolation since working from home
  • Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of all workers miss their colleagues
  • Only 76 percent of women who live alone take suitable breaks, compared to 90 per cent of men who live alone

Kate Cooper, Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “While we have been celebrating the adaptability of so many organisations and individuals who have responded brilliantly to the challenges of switching from home to office. Men particularly miss the camaraderie of the office and young people struggle to find suitable home working spaces, according to the research. More than ever before, managers need empathy; to manage according to individual need, to understand the difficulties that their teams face on a personal level and to signpost anyone who needs it to additional support.”

The survey findings suggest that home-working in lockdown doesn’t suit everyone, with many workers suffering from isolation, regardless of their living arrangements.

Young workers’ lockdown-related mental health has deteriorated

The online survey of 1,256 workers claims that younger workers are also feeling the pressure; 40 per cent of 18-30 year olds report they feel their mental health had deteriorated in the first eight weeks of lockdown and more than half of 18-30 year olds (53 per cent) admit they’re feeling isolated.

By contrast, workers over 60 and adults who live with a partner reported having the best lockdown-related mental health.

Men and women feel isolated working from home in lockdown

However, it’s not just single men and younger people who have been negatively affected by working from home. Despite living with a partner and children, 39 per cent of men admitted they feel isolated. This is echoed by 31 per cent of women with similar living arrangements, according to the survey.

More work, less play – and fewer breaks

Despite not having to battle the daily commute or school run, working from home isn’t necessarily leading to a better work-life balance for everyone during lockdown. The research found people are working longer hours and taking fewer breaks; just under half of all workers (44 per cent) say they’re working more hours than they normally would.

Women who live alone have been taking the fewest breaks during the working day; only 76 per cent take suitable breaks compared to 90 per cent of men who live alone.

Unsurprisingly, the combination of enforced remote working and childcare has provided additional pressures on parents or those with childcare responsibilities, meaning a third of women with children and no other adult support aren’t finding enough time to take suitable breaks, compared to one sixth of men who are living alone with children.

But lockdown has been a positive experience for some, with more than a quarter of those responding to the survey saying they’re enjoying the experience – and aren’t missing their colleagues.

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