Coronavirus and Black Lives Matter affecting wellbeing of most staff


The events of 2020, from the coronavirus pandemic to the extent of systemic racism exposed by the Black Lives Matter movement, have taken their toll on the wellbeing of 93% of employees in the UK, a survey has found.

Workers aged 18 to 24 were struggling the most with their wellbeing, with 31% stating they experienced “poor mental wellbeing” this year, compared with 13% of employees aged 55 and over, according employee experience platform Perkbox.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of the 13,271  employees polled said coronavirus had negatively affected their mental health, with many stating they had financial worries and felt lonely as a result of working remotely.

Twenty-seven per cent said their mental health had been affected by extent of racial discrimination exposed by the events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

In its The New Working World report, Perkbox questioned whether employees’ mental health concerns had been compounded by some business’ leaders silence over the matter. Only 22% of 366 business leaders polled addressed the Black Lives Matter movement within their organisation.

Perkbox found the five most pressing wellbeing challenges were:

  • staff feeling ‘less connected’ to their company and colleagues (41%)
  • increased feelings of loneliness and isolation (38%)
  • greater financial concerns (38%)
  • burnout in managing work life and home life simultaneously (37%)
  • the impact of sedentary lifestyle on physical health (35%).

“Wellbeing issues are unsurprisingly on the rise, not least because of the unique set of challenges faced with the pandemic. Although in the minority, it’s important that employers do more to identify those in their teams who describe their wellbeing as ‘very poor’ before this escalates into a serious problem,” said Saurav Chopra, Perkbox CEO.

“Making the wellbeing of staff a priority will be intrinsic to building a successful business post-Covid. People – whether consumers or employees – won’t forget brands and businesses who have failed to support their staff or customers at a time of great need.”

Despite the findings, 88% felt their employer had looked after them well during the pandemic. Measures taken included individual check-ins with staff (45%), firms allowing more flexibility in working hours (33%) and remote social meetings and activities to maintain good communication between teams (32%).

Twenty-eight per cent of employers had implemented both emotional and financial wellbeing initiatives since lockdown, with a further 36% planning to invest more in employee wellbeing initiatives post-Covid.

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