Nearly Seven in 10 Britons Are Comfortable With Less Social Interaction Than Pre-pandemic

  • LifeWorks Mental Health Index reveals 68 per cent of British workers would be fine with reduced socialising

LifeWorks, a leading provider of digital and in-person total wellbeing solutions, released its monthly Mental Health Index that showed 68 per cent of Britons are comfortable with less social interaction than pre pandemic and that this group has a mental health score two points higher than the national average. Additionally, more than half of respondents are, or possibly are, rethinking their career goals as a result of the pandemic.

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The Index found that British workers are still under strain with a negative mental health score for the 23rd consecutive month. The score of working Britons declined when compared to January, with this month’s score remaining lower than the pre-pandemic mental health benchmark of 0.0.

  • The Mental Health Index™ score for February 2022 is -10.7, a more than one-point decline from January’s score of -9.6.

Prolonged impacts of the pandemic are driving working Britons to consider career changes that may even include retraining

  • Thirty-three per cent of Britons have altered career goals due to the pandemic, with workers ages 40 and younger more than twice as likely to report their goals have changed than those 50 and older.
  • Fifteen per cent of Britons will make a career change. This group has a mental health score of -19.5, nearly nine points below the national average.
  • Twenty-seven per cent are considering retraining for a different career.
  • Twenty-three per cent are considering retiring and this group has the second-highest mental health score (-14.5).
  • Managers are twice as likely as non-managers to report they will be making a career change because of the pandemic.

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Comments from managing director, United Kingdom and Europe, Philip Mullen

“The pandemic has sparked constant change and the re-evaluation of all facets of life, and Britons are demonstrating that career paths are no exception. In our view, this re-consideration is driven by a desire for a better personal experience. Putting employee wellbeing at the forefront of organisational planning has always been critical to business success, especially as the U.K. continues to combat an ongoing labour shortage, and this must remain a priority to help ensure retention.”

Comments from global leader and senior vice president, research and total wellbeing, Paula Allen

“We found reduced social interaction at the start of the pandemic difficult. However, after two years, fewer interactions feel more like the norm for many. The concern is that positive social interaction and social support are a critical buffer to stress. With the reduction in social interaction overall, positive experiences at work and support available through work are more important to balance ongoing professional and personal stressors. As well, with increased positive experiences, an individuals’ comfort with interactions is more likely to increase over time.”

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