The pandemic is not just a financial disaster for many of course it’s a health and well-being crisis too. All our lives have been turned upside down since March last year, and that’s likely to continue well into this year. In a recent national survey 40% of respondents said that they had suffered a decline in their state of mind since the start of the pandemic. And 33% reported that the mental health of their children had got worse. The longer this pandemic goes on the more anxious many people are likely to become. The vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, but that tunnel seems to be getting longer with every twist and turn of the progression of the Covid virus.
According to a new report published by McKinsey’s Healthcare, a leading firm of management consultants, whilst many people are acquiring natural immunity through infection, new variants with enhanced transmissibility could see the number of people needed to be simultaneously immune to achieve herd immunity increasing to between 78% and 95% of the population over age 12. Assuming we don’t have to deal with a new strain of the virus which may reduce the efficacy of the vaccines, the expectation is that herd immunity will be achieved by September/ October 2021. That’s not to say some of the current restrictions won’t be lifted before then.
Last week we published some of the results from our second home working survey, the largest independent survey of staff attitudes to home working carried out in Lloyds Banking Group.
Some of the key results from our survey are as follows:
72% of respondents said that on average they were working more than 7 hours a day. That’s the kind of response we’ve seen from previous surveys on working hours in Lloyds. One of the drawbacks of working from home is that employees could feel the need to be “always on” – available to work at all hours of the day. And that’s something we need to avoid in Lloyds. Researchers at Atlassian, a developer of workplace software, looked at the behaviour of users in 65 countries. They recorded the first and last time people interacted with the software and found that from April and May onwards the working day in the UK was 30 minutes longer than it was in January and February. Interestingly, Israelis extended their working day by 47 minutes, longer than anywhere else. Working hours is something we will be monitoring going forward because what we don’t want to see is the working day getting progressively longer, especially for those who carry on working from home when the pandemic is over.
In order to understand the psychological effects of working from home we asked members to categorise their feelings using words such as “Happy”, “Anxious” and “Depressed” and the results show how members have become more concerned since the last survey. That’s not surprising given the length of time we’ve been in various stages of lockdown. In our latest survey, 53% of respondents said they were happy; 3% down from our last survey. 13% of respondents said they were depressed; up from 8%.
86% of members responding said they had established a good work routine at home and 84% said that they had created a suitable workspace. Although, we know from comments from members that “work routines” and “suitable workspace” will be dependent on making sure that school aged children are looked after during lockdowns.
Most importantly, 71% of members said they were able to maintain a healthy work life balance working from home.
34% of staff said they weren’t able to take regular breaks from work during the day. We need to drill down more to understand why that’s the case, but the bank needs to make sure that staff can take regular breaks.
For many people, working from home has been a period of self-reflection about life and what’s important. Only 9% of respondents said that they wanted to do something completely different from working for Lloyds once the pandemic is over.
Members with any questions on our survey results or on working from home should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).