A study has shown that overwhelmingly, women are being disproportionately affected by a rise in mental health problems caused by increasing workloads as people work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The working day has become longer, plus there have been other tasks, home schooling, Zoom meetings from home, etc, on top of everyday tasks that women generally become more responsible for, possibly sexist but true in a large number of families. As the working day has increased, this has resulted in a 49% rise in mental distress reported by employees when compared with 2017-19. Women can sometimes try to juggle work and childcare, according to a report by the 4 Day Week campaign and thinktanks Compass and Autonomy.
The report, Burnout Britain, shows that women are 43% more likely to have increased their hours beyond a standard working week than men. For those women with children, this was even more clearly linked with mental health problems: 86% of women who are carrying out a standard working week as well as looking after childcare, experienced mental health problems in April 2020. The report also advocates the introduction of a four day week, something that is really common on mainland Europe.
It's all about workplace wellbeing
One way to help with the added pressure on women, is to encourage employers to support staff wellbeing by offering flexible working, which might mean starting later or job sharing some roles. Employers could also start to offer counselling or wellbeing services to their employees.
Employers could take forward more measures such as working from home or different hours to suit people’s lives and lessen the pressure on them.
Employees working from home has big advantages for employers but it's important to maintain the balance for both employers and employees.
The report warns that “as well as an impending recession and mass unemployment, we are heading into an unprecedented mental health crisis”.
The report also calls for a four-day working week for the public sector and the formation of a working time commission. A working commission would look at exploring the best policymaking opportunities that could use shorter working time to share work more equally across the economy, thus relieving stress on us all.
Working remotely has resulted in longer hours for some of us and I can't help wondering where the balance is for employees.
We all need to work on our work life balance
A healthy work life balance is where we should all be aiming. If this balance is upset then we all start to feel a bit wobbly. The report shows us all that it’s supremely important as a society to strive for a work-life balance that makes economic sense for business and employees too.
A four-day working week has been considered in recent months as a potential for flexible working across the economy and beneficial for employees mental health. Trying to cram all of our admin, housework, etc in a two day week is a rush and a four day week would make all of our lives much easier. But hey, that's just my thoughts. Let me know what you think. Bye for now x