A new briefing summary from Public Health Wales reports that while the majority of people would like to continue working from home, nearly half surveyed also reported worsened well-being and feelings of loneliness whilst working from home (WFH) during the pandemic.
Of those who could WFH during the second wave of the pandemic (Nov 2020 to Jan 2021), almost half reported worsened mental well-being (45 per cent) and increased feelings of loneliness (48 per cent). Groups more likely to report these effects included younger workers, women, those who lived alone and those with poorer health. The report also explores how patterns of health behaviour (e.g. smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and healthy eating habits) changed amongst those who WFH.Healthy Working Wales programme, guides employers to implement healthy and safe working practices and promote health and wellbeing. The Healthy Working Wales webpages support employers to ensure all ways of working, including home and hybrid working, underpin good mental and physical health and take account of staff as well as organisational needs. Given that a focus on homeworking and hybrid models of working in Wales is a priority for the future continuing to strengthen our understanding of the impact on health will help shape remote working strategies to ensure the health benefits are fully realised and potential harms minimised across population groups.Despite some reporting a negative impact to health while home working during the pandemic, three in five respondents expressed a preference to continue to WFH into the future. However, one in five wanted to avoid home working entirely. Other studies have shown that, amongst those who continue to WFH, loneliness has improved but levels of psychological distress remain slightly higher for some. Supporting employers and employees to realise the benefits from home working alongside minimising the potential harms – specifically to mental health, is important. Public Health Wales, through the
The evidence briefing can be found here.
This briefing summary is based on a pre-print published in January 2022. This new briefing considers the findings from the pre-print within the context of more recent data and the situation at present . Read pre-print here – Good work in the COVID-19 recovery: priorities and changes for the future