British people are putting in more overtime while working from home, spending less time sleeping, and neglecting their physical health, according to research.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) (below) revealed Brits were spending 23 fewer minutes sleeping, with time in bed returning to similar levels reported before the pandemic hit, after it increased during the first lockdown in March to April 2020.
However, the data for the period 20 to 28 March 2021 also showed Brits were putting in an additional 18 minutes working from home when compared to last spring.
The ONS data coincided with research from Aviva which reported that more employees have been neglecting their physical health due to work.
It also found employee life satisfaction had dropped by 10 percentage points since the start of the pandemic, however, the majority of people agreed their employers were genuinely concerned about their wellbeing.
Aviva’s Thriving in the Age of Ambiguity: building resilience for the new realities of work report quizzed 2,000 UK employees in firms with over 1,000 employees in February 2020, August 2020 and March 2021.
The latest edition said that, while the blurring of work-life boundaries had brought welcome flexibility for many, the increasingly ambiguous relationship between employers and employees is a major source of unease and uncertainty.
And this had resulted in a growing strain on people’s balance between work and home life, employment and retirement.
Life satisfaction down, anxiety up
Most notably, the number of employees who were completely satisfied with life had dropped by ten percentage points, falling from 67% in February 2020 to 57% in March 2021.
And at the same time the number of employees who report feeling anxious from day-to-day increased from 22% in August 2020 to 27% in March 2021.
It also found 58% of employees, up from 53% in February 2020, were neglecting their physical health due to being too busy at work, with a vast majority of 86% stating they checked emails outside of working hours.
However, 61% of employees agreed their employer was genuinely concerned about their wellbeing, compared with 57% before the pandemic stuck.
And employees were more likely to agree their employer understood what motivated them – 44% vs. 36% in August.
Debbie Bullock, wellbeing lead at Aviva, said an age of ambiguity was impacting society and workplaces with elements of people’s lives overlapping and changing beyond recognition.
“Our research reveals unpredictable futures are placing a significant strain on the balance between work and home life, with more employees reporting feelings of anxiety and dissatisfaction, as well as concern for their future due to a lack of clarity about their retirement prospects,” she said.
“We believe employers can play a major role in guiding their employees through this ambiguity. By promoting healthier habits and incremental shifts in attitudes and actions, we can empower people to make informed, balanced and positive career and lifestyle choices.
“However, one size does not fit all when it comes to employee support, and it’s vital businesses speak directly to peers to uncover and address individual concerns by offering tailored support.”