A recent survey commissioned by Workwhile has shed light on the alarming toll work is taking on the mental health of individuals.

It reveals that over half of Britons, 57 percent, are concerned about the negative impact their jobs are having on their wellbeing.

The survey highlighted the public’s growing apprehension regarding the lack of attention given by employers towards safeguarding their mental health. A significant 59 percent of respondents stated that their employers did not discourage unpaid overtime, while 21 percent revealed that their employers even encouraged them to work extra hours without additional pay.

Amidst a persistent cost-of-living crisis, the survey emphasised the high value the public places on achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Nearly half, 49 percent, expressed that work-life balance was more important to them than the amount they earned, while only 12 percent prioritised their income over their work-life balance.

A lack of high-quality jobs

The concerns expressed by the survey respondents were exacerbated by the scarcity of high-quality job opportunities in local communities. Only 13 percent of those surveyed believed that the number of quality jobs in their area had increased since the start of their careers.

Workwhile, an organisation dedicated to improving employment conditions, is urging the government to prioritise good work as a central component of its mission to foster economic growth. With the number of individuals out of work due to long-term ill health reaching over 2.5 million—higher than pre-pandemic levels—Workwhile aims to prevent further escalation of this issue.

Failing to address the crisis in working conditions will exacerbate health disparities, worsen national skills challenges, and jeopardize the government’s commitment to boosting the economy and creating better-paying jobs.

Anna Ambrose, Director of Workwhile, commented on the findings, stating, “All employers are expected to pay a fair wage, especially during the cost-of-living crisis, but employees also need and value far more than how much they earn. That’s why Workwhile exists to support employers in providing better-quality employment opportunities—because we believe in the power of good work to transform lives, communities, and the economy.”

What needs to change?

Ambrose further emphasised that good work should be a collective responsibility, calling on both the government and employers to take proactive measures to address the crisis in poor-quality work.

Workwhile is also urging the government to introduce legislation that guarantees employees a ‘right to disconnect’ in order to protect mental health in the workplace. With the rise in remote work, regulating working hours has become increasingly challenging.

Additionally, the organisation is calling for government support to help small employers gain access to apprenticeships and skills programs across their workforces. Without such support, the UK risks falling behind in the global race to create a highly-skilled, well-compensated, and competitive economy.

 

 

 

 

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Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.