Austen Shakespeare

Gen Z "disproportionately" affected with remote working related isolation and anxiety

New research indicates younger workers are more likely to report feelings of isolation and anxiety when working from home.

The data, supplied by communications firm RingCentral, comes ahead of ‘Blue Monday’ - widely considered the UK’s most depressing day of the year. The news highlights the need for employers and others to ensure they stay connected and engaged with those working from home alone.

63 per cent of 21-24 year olds say remote work has made them feel isolated, compared to 34 per cent of those aged 45-54. 24 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men are less happy now than before the pandemic.

Nearly one in five of 21-34 year olds say their relationship with their supervisor is worse now than before Covid-19 and 25 per cent of those aged 21-24 say they have not had supervisor support during the pandemic. However, 60 per cent of women and 48 per cent men say Covid has made them more empathetic.

Data from the ONS showed around 17 percent of adults experienced depression during the latter half of 2021. The research reveals younger individuals are disproportionately more likely to feel isolated whilst working remotely, with 3 in 5 of 21-24 year olds feeling this way compared to a third of 45-54 year olds.

In addition, two thirds of the younger group (21-24 year olds) said they work with colleagues they’ve never met and therefore feel anxious about returning to the office, with half this number (33 per cent) of 45-54 year olds feeling the same way.

There were also differences between male and female workers, with just under half of women admitted to feeling isolated, compared to 34 per cent of men. In addition, just under a quarter (24 per cent) of women and a fifth (20 per cent) of men said that they are less happy now than they were before Covid.

With nearly 1 in 5 of those aged 21-34 citing that their relationship with their supervisor has worsened since the onslaught of Covid-19, a positive two-way dialogue is critical to ensuring workers feel engaged and valued. A quarter of those aged 21-24 said they have not had any supervisor support during the pandemic.

Steve Rafferty, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, RingCentral comments: “With so much of our time spent working, the role of employers to support staff mental health has always been critical. That duty has of course been heightened by the pandemic.

“For many individuals - particularly those living alone - speaking to colleagues may be the only chance they have to interact with other human beings on a day-to-day basis. Giving people the time to chat - replicating those water cooler discussions - can make an enormous difference.

“Likewise, keeping an eye out for changes in behaviour will also enable managers to offer support if needed. Next time you speak to a colleague, ask them how they are. Blue Monday is a reminder of how much we must all look out for each other - not just today but every day.”

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