As a leading workers compensation insurance provider, Allianz has seen firsthand the emotional and financial effects that poor mental health can have for both employees and the organisations they work for. In an effort to make a positive and meaningful contribution, Allianz is committed to the wellbeing of our employees, as it’s a pivotal step towards building future thriving workplaces. As part of our ongoing commitment, we proudly partner with our clients, fellow employers and the wider industry to develop resources and provide tangible solutions. We have recently commissioned consumer research, sampling Australian employees and senior managers across industries to better understand the evolving challenges of creating mentally healthy workplaces.
One of the most prominent effects Covid-19 has brought about is a fundamental change to how and when we work. Mostly notably, for those of us who are now working remotely to a greater extent, it’s a change that’s had concerning impacts on people’s overall mental health. In a pre-Covid-19 world, people viewed their work and home as two distinct places. But importantly, as people transitioned from one to the other, they used to afford themselves time to mentally ‘shift gears’. With that ‘shift’ becoming less tangible, the concept of the ‘The Third Space™’ can play an important role for organisations.
According to Dr Adam Fraser, author of “The Third Space”, the ‘First Space’ is what you’re doing now. The ‘Second Space’ is what you’re about to do, and the ‘Third Space’ is the gap in the middle. Creating a workplace that fosters the Third Space and allows for smooth, yet distinct movement, between work (the ‘now’), and home (the ‘about to do’), should be a priority for any organisation wishing to create wellbeing in their work environment.
With the conflation of work and home boundaries, allowing time for the important transition between being at work, and being at home, is happening less frequently, if at all, so the separation between the two is becoming increasingly blurred. The findings from Allianz’s latest commissioned research shows this is having a negative impact on people’s perceived quality of life. When surveyed, employees in Australia reported:
- 31 per cent are experiencing increased pressure/workloads.
- 21 per cent state their workplace has a negative culture that does not respect work–life balance.
- Australians are working overtime on average 1.6 days a week to complete set tasks with more than three quarters (77 per cent) working some form of overtime to complete set tasks.
- There are various factors affecting employee mental health, including:
- 62 per cent of employees have had a negative experience that has impacted their mental health at work.
- 43 per cent of employees find themselves feeling increasingly stressed about work outside of business hours since the start of the pandemic.
- 18 per cent of employees are not comfortable with their current work-life balance.