PRESS RELEASE: Men more likely to struggle with isolation during lockdown new research finds.

New research has revealed that more than three quarters of men who live alone feel isolated while they’re working from home and two fifths of 18-30 year olds feel their mental health has deteriorated.

This latest research from The Institute of Leadership & Management ‘Homeworking trials and triumphs during Covid-19: mental health and wellbeing’, explores the impact of working from home on mental health, revealing that a significant number of men who live alone (79 per cent) are struggling with feelings of isolation during lockdown.

Yet this sense of isolation has taken its toll on both men and women who live alone, with 40 per cent of men and 25 per cent of women feeling their mental health has declined as a result of working from home.

The survey has found:

  • 79 per cent of men who live alone feel isolated and 39 per cent believe their mental health has declined, due to working at home
  • 40 per cent of 18-30 year olds feel their mental health has deteriorated
  • 39 per cent of men living with a partner and children feel isolated, as do 31 per cent of women living with a partner and children
  • 42 per cent of workers have struggled with isolation since working from home
  • Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of all workers miss their colleagues
  • Only 76 percent of women who live alone take suitable breaks, compared to 90 per cent of men who live alone

Kate Cooper, Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “While we have been celebrating the adaptability of so many organisations and individuals who have responded brilliantly to the challenges of switching from home to office, as our research reveals, this presents leaders and managers with new and complex challenges. Men particularly miss the camaraderie of the office and young people struggle to find suitable home working spaces. More than ever before, managers need empathy; to manage according to individual need, to understand the difficulties that their teams face on a personal level and to signpost anyone who needs it to additional support.”

The survey findings make it clear that home-working in lockdown doesn’t suit everyone, with many workers suffering from isolation, regardless of their living arrangements.

Next week (30 June & 1 July), The Institute is hosting a short series of FREE webinars dedicated to supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace; exploring The Institute’s new research and how leaders and managers can support their remote teams better. For more details, visit The Institute’s website.

Suki K Bassi, founder and chief happiness officer of HappyMaven Wellbeing in Business, and a guest speaker on The Institute’s 1 July webinar ‘Managing the mental health implications of home working’, said: “These findings cannot be ignored and echo my concerns that home working is being trumpeted as a model for the future of work without due consideration given to the impact on motivation, social isolation and mental health. The switch to home working is not as simple as finding somewhere to plug a laptop in – it is critical that employers meet not only Health & Safety obligations but also recognise and address the wider duty of care to their people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.”

Young workers’ lockdown-related mental health has deteriorated

The online survey of 1,256 workers reveals that younger workers are also feeling the pressure; 40 per cent of 18-30 year olds report they feel their mental health had deteriorated in the first eight weeks of lockdown and more than half of 18-30 year olds (53 per cent) admit they're feeling isolated.

By contrast, workers over 60 and adults who live with a partner reported having the best lockdown-related mental health.

Men and women feel isolated working from home in lockdown

However, it's not just single men and younger people who have been negatively affected by working from home. Despite living with a partner and children, 39 per cent of men admitted they feel isolated. This is echoed by 31 per cent of women with similar living arrangements.

More work, less play – and fewer breaks

Despite not having to battle the daily commute or school run, working from home isn’t necessarily leading to a better work-life balance for everyone during lockdown. The research found people are working longer hours and taking fewer breaks; just under half of all workers (44 per cent) say they’re working more hours than they normally would.

Women who live alone have been taking the fewest breaks during the working day; only 76 per cent take suitable breaks compared to 90 per cent of men who live alone.

Unsurprisingly, the combination of enforced remote working and childcare has provided additional pressures on parents or those with childcare responsibilities, meaning a third of women with children and no other adult support aren’t finding enough time to take suitable breaks, compared to one sixth of men who are living alone with children.

But lockdown has been a positive experience for some, with more than a quarter of those responding to the survey saying they’re enjoying the experience - and aren’t missing their colleagues.

To read the full findings from the research, please visit https://www.institutelm.com/resourceLibrary/homeworking-trials-and-triumphs-during-covid-19.html

Business in the Community (BITC) has partnered with Public Health England to produce a toolkit to help every organisation support the mental health and wellbeing of its employees, which is available via www.bitc.org.uk/toolkit/mental-health-for-employers-toolkit

For professional advice and mental health support, please visit www.mind.org.uk.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

The Institute of Leadership & Management surveyed 1,256 leaders and managers in an online survey.

For more details or requests for interview, please contact Pippa Hanson / Luke Aldridge at Camargue: phanson@camargue.uk / laldridge@camargue.uk or 01242 577277.  You can download a press pack about The Institute here.

The Institute of Leadership & Management is a world-renowned specialist membership body that raises professional standards of more than 30,000 leaders, managers, coaches and mentors. Our mission is to inspire great leadership, everywhere. We are a registered charity and governed by a board of trustees.

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