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Ongoing Remote Work Affecting Overall Employee Health

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, more employees are becoming restless with their work-from-home situations.

This is according to a survey from TELUS International, which found that 75% of United States employees have struggled at work due to anxiety caused by the pandemic and other recent world events. The survey, which drew responses from 1,000 Americans who have been working for their employers from home since March, also revealed that nearly 80% of respondents said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employee mental health.

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“It’s imperative in today’s climate that employers are aware of and consider the difficult truth that many individuals are experiencing mental and physical health issues since they began working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marilyn Tyfting, chief corporate officer of TELUS International.

When asked whether they have found it hard to “shut off” from work in the evenings, almost four in five survey respondents said they have found it challenging. The survey findings also show that over half of respondents said they have not taken a mental health day since they started working from home due to the pandemic, and 44% have not taken a single day of vacation since they started working from home, despite 97% saying that vacation days while working from home are important to recharge.

Additionally, over 50% of respondents’ sleep patterns have been negatively impacted since working from home due to the societal effects of COVID-19, saying they are not getting enough sleep (40%) or hardly sleeping at all (13%). Of the 1,000 survey participants across the country, 39% reported feeling less healthy physically and 45% said they feel less healthy mentally since working from home due to COVID-19; however, only six of 10 respondents said their employer has expressed genuine concern about their health during this time.

Nearly all (97%) respondents said it is important that a company prioritizes its employees’ mental health. The survey results indicated that this is not entirely happening yet as only two of every five respondents feel empowered to let someone at their company know when they aren’t feeling physically or mentally well.

The survey results also highlight the importance of offering employees flexibility in their work schedule as nearly nine in 10 respondents agreed that would positively impact their mental health. Additionally, employees indicated the following top three things an employer can do to make them feel their mental health is being prioritized:

  • Health benefits/coverage that includes therapy/counselling (49%).
  • Thoughtful 1:1 check-ins (43%).
  • Virtual workshops about health and wellness; yoga & meditation classes (37%).

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