January 24, 2022
New research by Bupa claims there are five toxic workplace habits that are especially harmful to employee wellbeing, including ‘chronic procrastination’ and ‘workplace stress’. As a result, UK employees are actively searching for advice on how to manage their wellbeing at work.
These new habits are harming our workplace health and wellbeing, according to Bupa’s Lead Behavioural Insights Advisor Lauren Gordon: “With so much change to our working lives over the past year, our usual work behaviours and routines have been disrupted. This is causing many employees to feel anxious, stressed and underwhelmed in their working lives. We’ve found that more of us are searching these toxic workplace habits on Google, and it’s more important than ever to know how to overcome these negative traits. For example, feeling exhausted, making more mistakes, and experiencing brain-fog are all symptoms of ‘decision fatigue’ and can lead to lower levels of productivity.
“If you’ve found yourself searching for various ways to boost your wellbeing at work, you’re not alone, either. Our research also showed that employees are actively seeking for ways to manage the things impacting their health at work, with a surge of searches for ‘mindfulness at work’ and ‘effective communication’.”
Based on increases in Google searches on particular topics, Bupa offers the following guidance on addressing toxic workplace culture:
53 percent increase in Google searches for ‘chronic procrastination’
Procrastination is the habit of delaying an important task. There are lots of reasons why we might put off completing a task at work. It might be that a task feels too big or that isn’t challenging enough. It could also stem from mental health issues, such as stress and anxiety.
With so much change to our working lives over the past year, our usual work behaviours and routines have been disrupted. This is causing many employees to feel anxious, stressed and underwhelmed in their working lives – which can lead to chronic (long-term) procrastination.
50 percent increase in Google searches for ‘multitasking’
Multitasking is when you are completing more than one task at a time, dividing your attention, and ultimately making it harder to focus. This can lead to lower levels of efficiency at work and increase the chances of making a mistake.
Over the past year, many employees may have found themselves multitasking more than usual. This is particularly true for working parents who found they had to juggle their home and work life during lockdown. With businesses also going through such a huge period of change, lots of people found their workloads increasing too.
30 percent increase in Google searches for ‘workplace stress’
The pandemic has taken its toll on our mental health and it’s no surprise employees are increasingly experiencing work-related stress. High workloads, working longer hours and lack of stability in a job can all lead to workplace stress.
During the peak of the pandemic, research by Bupa suggested that over one in four employees reported their workload had a negative impact on their wellbeing. Everyone reacts to stress differently, but common signs of work-related stress are withdrawing from work and colleagues, increased absence, lower productivity, and motivation levels.
22 percent increase in Google searches for ‘signs of burnout at work’
Work burnout is caused by feeling overwhelmed or being under too much pressure at work for a long period of time. For some employees experiencing burnout, the boundaries between work and home have become blurred, which makes it harder to switch off from work and find a work-life balance.
We know that work can have a huge impact on our mental health and it’s no surprise many employees have experienced burnout in their working lives. Multiple lockdowns, remote working and social distancing restrictions have led to many feeling a loss of control – both at home and work.
14 percent increase in Google searches for ‘decision fatigue’
Decision making is a cognitive process which can leave you feeling exhausted – especially when it comes to making those bigger business decisions. As a result, employees can experience decision fatigue – where the ability to make high-quality decisions decreases after a series of choices have already been made.
Feeling exhausted, making more mistakes, and experiencing brain-fog are all symptoms of decision fatigue and can lead to lower levels of productivity. Due to the pandemic, many employees have had to make more new decisions each day over the past year – increasing the likelihood of experiencing decision fatigue.