LifeWorks’ Mental Health Index™ Reveals Nearly 7 in 10 British Workers Would Be Fine With Reduced Social Interaction

Rearview of a young businessman sitting alone at his desk in an office working on a laptop and going over paperwork

LifeWorks’, most recent monthly Mental Health Index™ has reported that 68 per cent of Britons are comfortable with less social interaction than pre pandemic and that this group has a mental health score two points higher than the national average.  Insight from the Mental Health Index™ also showed that more than half of respondents are, or possibly are, rethinking their career goals as a result of the pandemic.

The Index found that British workers are still under strain with a negative mental health score for the 23rd consecutive month. The score of working Britons declined when compared to January, with this month’s score remaining lower than the pre-pandemic mental health benchmark of 0.0.*

Shifting priorities

The Index also found that the prolonged impacts of the pandemic are driving working Britons to consider career changes that may even include retraining:

  • Thirty-three per cent of Britons have altered career goals due to the pandemic, with workers ages 40 and younger more than twice as likely to report their goals have changed than those 50 and older.
  • Fifteen per cent of Britons will make a career change. This group has a mental health score of -19.5, nearly nine points below the national average.
  • Twenty-seven per cent are considering retraining for a different career.
  • Twenty-three per cent are considering retiring and this group has the second-highest mental health score (-14.5).
  • Managers are twice as likely as non-managers to report they will be making a career change because of the pandemic.


Implications for employers

When it comes to thinking about what employers need to do to respond to these insights, Philip Mullen, Managing Director, UK and Europe for LifeWorks suggests:

“The pandemic has sparked constant change and the re-evaluation of all facets of life, and Britons are demonstrating that career paths are no exception. In our view, this re-consideration is driven by a desire for a better personal experience. Putting employee wellbeing at the forefront of organisational planning has always been critical to business success, especially as the U.K. continues to combat an ongoing labour shortage, and this must remain a priority to help ensure retention.”

Paula Allen, LifeWorks’ Global Leader and Senior Vice President, Research and Total Wellbeing adds:

“We found reduced social interaction at the start of the pandemic difficult. However, after two years, fewer interactions feel more like the norm for many. The concern is that positive social interaction and social support are a critical buffer to stress. With the reduction in social interaction overall, positive experiences at work and support available through work are more important to balance ongoing professional and personal stressors. As well, with increased positive experiences, an individuals’ comfort with interactions is more likely to increase over time.”

The full U.K. LifeWorks Mental Health Index™ report can be found here. The March 2022 report includes additional insights on Britons’ ability to be themselves at work and the prevalence of career changes unrelated to the pandemic.

About the Mental Health Index™

The monthly survey by LifeWorks was conducted through an online survey from February 1 and 8, 2022 with 2,000 respondents in the United Kingdom. All respondents reside in the United Kingdom and were employed within the last six months. The data has been statistically weighted to ensure the regional and gender composition of the sample reflect this population. The Mental Health Index™ is published monthly, beginning April 2020, and compares against benchmark data collected in 2017, 2018, 2019.

* The Mental Health Index™ score for February 2022 is -10.7, a more than one-point decline from January’s score of -9.6.

Join our growing network of employers
Receive Make A Difference News straight to your inbox




Sign up to receive Make A Difference's fortnightly round up of features, news, reports, case studies, practical tools and more for employers who want to make a difference to work culture, mental health and wellbeing.