Employee mental health has deteriorated by 14% since start of pandemic

GetApp’s research study reveals that positive mental health has dropped by 14% since the start of the pandemic. Whereas in pre-pandemic times, 66% reported good or excellent mental health, which dropped to 52% in February 2022. 

In the midst of the pandemic, good or excellent mental health reached an all-time low of 42%, demonstrating a 24% drop since before the pandemic hit. Revealing how the detrimental impacts the COVID outbreak caused on mental health still prevail in businesses today.

The study uncovered that 22% of respondents believe they are more stressed at work compared to last year. Most blamed the increasing workload as their main source of stress (at 40%), followed by a lack of help and support provided by their manager (21%). 19% encountered stress from having to balance their home life and personal life, whilst 19% blamed their fear of catching COVID-19 on their heightened stress levels. 

Therefore, although COVID did play a part in amplifying employees’ levels of stress, it was primarily general work-related issues that caused the most tension. 

According to the study, the most common mental health symptoms caused by workplace stress include sleeping problems (at 31%), followed by consistent worrying (28%) and difficulty concentrating (24%). 

The COVID-19 outbreak has reshaped working life in a multitude of different ways. Pre COVID, 76% of respondents worked solely on-site, whilst nine percent had a hybrid work arrangement. Compared to now, where 58% work solely on-site, and 22% work according to the hybrid working model. 

This new working model brought about many positive changes for employees. Flexible working hours improved by 30%, whilst 29% of respondents reported improvements to their work-life balance.

However, despite this, job satisfaction and motivation saw the sharpest decrease, at 24% and 26% respectively. Connection to company culture (23%) and co-worker collaboration (22%) were also factors that suffered at the hands of the pandemic. This could be explained in part by the social distancing rules in place at the time, further isolating colleagues from one another.

David Jani, Content Analyst at GetApp UK, commented: "The results from GetApp’s recent study on mental health in the workplace have revealed that it’s not just the pandemic that has affected staff wellbeing, although it has become a major factor. 

"Around a fifth of our respondents claimed they experienced stress from the fear of catching COVID at work. Yet it was common issues such as lack of managerial support (affecting 21%) and increased workload (40%) which influenced negative mental health the most."

Nevertheless, these factors combined have contributed to the quite dramatic drop of 14% in positive mental health that exists as of February 2022.