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Lockdown causing rifts between employees - study

01 July 2020

Lockdown measures are taking their toll on the mental and physical wellbeing of the country, creating tension and rifts between colleagues and animosity towards employers.

A study by Westfield Health, as part of its Divided Together report on the health and wellbeing of the nation’s workforce, revealed the impact on employees, with mistrust, suspicion and envy creating division within teams.

The data showed a rift between furloughed and working employees. A large percentage (39 per cent) of furloughed workers expect that others will get special treatment when they return to work and 30 per cent feel that others think they have it easy.

As a result of this divide, 56 per cent of furloughed workers say their mental health has got worse, increasing to 66 per cent amongst furloughed parents.

For those not on furlough, more than a third (35  per cent) working from home feel colleagues on furlough have less to worry about with 28 per cent saying furloughed colleagues are ‘getting an easy ride.’ 

Coronavirus seems to be hitting the health of parents particularly hard. A third of parents working from home (33 per cent) have seen their physical health deteriorate and almost half (47 per cent) are likely to struggle with their mental health compared to 36 per cent of overall respondents.

Dave Capper, CEO of Westfield Health, said: “As we begin to reopen parts of the economy and ease lockdown restrictions, one of the first places to feel the impact of these tensions will be the workplace.

“Rifts between those who have been furloughed and those who have carried on working – often with reduced pay – are complex and highly sensitive and can be attached to feelings of self-worth and value. With many business leaders focusing on long-term economic stability, there’s a risk they’ll overlook the challenge and importance of re-unifying divided teams.

“Our experiences and emotions from this time are not shared, they are very personal and our isolation from others is making this worse. A productive, thriving business is one that works as a unit. Being aware of and actively working to bridge these divides will be key to getting UK business back on track.”

More information on Westfield Health can be found here: https://www.westfieldhealth.com/

The Divided Together report can be downloaded here: https://www.westfieldhealth.com/docs/marketing/covid-19/divided-together-report.pdf

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