DIGITAL WORK TRENDS IMPACT MENTAL HEALTH

The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) conducted a pulse survey of 27,000 workers in 2022, concluding that the COVID-19 pandemic was a ‘formative event’ for workers' mental health.

According to the EU-OSHA, while psychosocial risks and work-related mental health issues were already at damaging levels, the pandemic exacerbated the situation. More than a quarter of respondents reported suffering from stress, depression, or anxiety caused or worsened by work.

The survey revealed that many workers experienced increased stress, mainly due to two factors, and suggest employers need to proactively monitor health-damaging working conditions.

'The risk factor with the strongest link to mental health was severe time pressure or work overload,' states the 82-page survey report, which was reported by 46% of respondents. Additionally, experiences of harassment, bullying, or violence at work were strongly associated with poor mental health.

Notably, workplaces that foster an open environment for discussing mental health showed better outcomes for workers compared to those lacking such support.

Digitalisation and workplace flexibility, accelerated by the pandemic, were identified as major trends affecting work stress.

While digitalisation led to increased workload and reduced autonomy, flexible work arrangements like teleworking did not show a clear association with increased stress, suggesting that hybrid models will continue post-pandemic.

Overall, the study emphasises the importance of addressing psychosocial risks at work, especially in the context of digitalisation, and integrating measures to tackle these risks into future preparedness planning.

Access the full study here Source: OHS Alert, 29 February

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