More stress work­ing un­der Covid-19

The New Zealand Herald - - News - Kirsty Wynn

Changes to the work en­vi­ron­ment be­cause of Covid-19 have led to an in­crease of burnout from stress and anx­i­ety, a sur­vey has found.

A study of 900 New Zealand work­ers by Frog Re­cruit­ment showed more than 64 per cent felt more burnt-out at work now than be­fore lock­down.

Jane Ken­nelly, Frog Re­cruit­ment busi­ness re­la­tion­ship direc­tor, said the sur­vey was con­ducted via so­cial me­dia and went across in­dus­tries.

“It really did sup­port what our re­cruiters were al­ready hear­ing which is the blur­ring of the lines with work and home life is really tak­ing its toll,” she said. “Some peo­ple are so in­vested in keep­ing the com­pany they work for go­ing they are up writ­ing emails and work­ing at 8pm.”

It was up to em­ploy­ers to no­tice this be­hav­iour, she said, and make sure staff did not over-work them­selves to the point of burnout.

Ken­nelly said re­cruiters had spo­ken to thou­sands of New Zealand work­ers since Covid-19 hit and there was a real fear of job loss.

To date, 16,000 job losses had been recorded be­cause of Covid-19 with Air NZ the hard­est hit, lay­ing off 4000.

“Peo­ple are read­ing about the com­pa­nies lay­ing off staff ev­ery day and they are think­ing they really need to show their boss what they are made of to avoid that,” Ken­nelly said.

“That’s when a re­spon­si­ble man­ager needs to recog­nise this and act — to make sure staff are not over­work­ing.”

Of the 900 peo­ple sur­veyed, many re­ported dis­rupted sleep­ing pat­terns and an in­crease in un­healthy eat­ing and drink­ing.

One com­mented: “I feel I am on duty when­ever I’m not asleep and on week­ends as well.” An­other said, “As a work­ing par­ent, I find my­self steal­ing a cou­ple of min­utes to send emails as I am get­ting din­ner ready.”

Ken­nelly said there were also re­ports of com­pa­nies that had staff work­ing evenings and week­ends with­out ad­di­tional pay.

For the work-from-home model to be a suc­cess there needed to be a bal­ance — some­thing busi­nesses should work to­ward in the com­ing months.

“We have a great op­por­tu­nity right now to cre­ate the work­place of the fu­ture,” she said. “We have gone from one work style and the pen­du­lum has swung to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent styled work­place — now it is time for some bal­ance.”

Psy­chol­ogy ex­pert Jane Davis from The Flour­ish­ing In­sti­tute in Christchur­ch said in­ter­na­tional re­search showed an in­crease in anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and post-trau­matic stress due to Covid-19.

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