A new study reveals that almost half of all employees feel that their mental health has been impacted by the expectations of juggling work and care duties during the pandemic.

New research by Hays, a company providing recruitment and HR services, demonstrates the wide-spread impact of COVID-19 on work and mental health as almost half of all employees state the impact of working and carrying out caring duties, with 43 per cent claiming it has affected their mental health.

Furthermore, over half of respondents (55 per cent) state that their work-life balance has been affected by having to work and take on caring responsibilities.

Over a third (31 per cent) have even stated that this pressure to multi-task has taken a toll on their relationship with other colleagues. Almost 20 per cent (18 per cent) feel that these conflicting career responsibilities have affected their career progression.

On a more positive note, over half of respondents (54 per cent) claim that their employers have been fully supportive towards their other commitments whilst 32 per cent have stated that their employer has been “somewhat supportive”.

Close to two-thirds (62 per cent) have been allowed to change their hours whilst almost half (47 per cent) have been able to access wellbeing support.

For those who did not receive adequate support from their employer, over half (55 per cent) stated that they are looking for a new job as a result of this.

Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Hays, said:

As childcare remains limited, employers need to continue to help employees who might be struggling. Employers should speak to their staff to find out what else they can do to support them and ensure they aren’t side-lining team members who might not be able to attend each and every call.

Take the time to speak to staff on a one-on-one basis to understand how they are getting on, and show that they are listening. Be frank and transparent in discussion so staff can be honest with their feedback. This will allow you to tailor your response and offer wellbeing training, counselling or extra support where needed.

Kathryn Barnes, European Counsel at Globalization Partners, a company that helps businesses to expand, said:

There is a changing culture when it comes to mental health at work, but still more work needs to be done. Organisations should embrace and encourage positive mental health initiatives and be supporting employees as best as they can – not just during our current situation, but at all times going forward.

Promoting face-to-face coffee breaks, socially distanced catch-ups and regular check-ins at work can go a long way towards promoting connectedness within any business setting. Companies who have regular video conferences are not only proven to be more productive, but help combat feelings of isolation, loneliness and encourage open conversations across the organisation.

If you are interested in learning more about how to juggle work and family during these challenging times, you can access HRreview‘s free upcoming webinar about this topic here.

*To obtain these results, Hays surveyed 13, 563 employees between 8th-21st July 2020.