Covid-19 puts deskless healthcare workers’ mental health under strain

New research from workforce management expert, Quinyx, reveals that the impact of coronavirus on jobs is compounding poor mental health among deskless workers in the healthcare sector.

The research reveals that a pre-existing mental health issue among deskless healthcare workers is being made worse as a result of the pandemic.

Prior to the outbreak, the deskless workforce in the healthcare sector was most likely to have had their job negatively impact their mental health over the last 12 months, compared to those working in other deskless industries surveyed. 42% of deskless workers in healthcare said that their job negatively impacted their mental health in the 12 months versus 38% of all deskless workers surveyed. Since the outbreak, more than half of deskless healthcare workers (54%) say that coronavirus has made this worse**.

An important contributing factor to the decline of the mental health of deskless healthcare workers appears to be the pressure of long hours. Prior to the pandemic, working extremely long hours was one of the main reasons half (49%) of the deskless healthcare workforce who suffered poor mental health over the last 12 months as a result of work did so. In the current crisis, with a stretched national workforce, more than a quarter (26%) of deskless workers in the healthcare sector have reported having to work over 40 hours a week – more than in any other deskless industry polled.

Potential underlying anxieties around pay and employer expectations are also likely to be playing a role. Prior to the outbreak, 42% of deskless healthcare workers who suffered poor mental health over the last 12 months as a result of their job cited low pay as being one of the main reasons. 37% cited the expectations of their managers being too high.

The research also revealed that prior to the pandemic, more than half (53%) of deskless healthcare workers who felt that their job negatively impacted their mental health over the last 12 months did so because they felt that they were not appreciated for the work they do. With the spotlight being shone on the vital work healthcare workers are doing to help battle coronavirus, this factor may have been temporarily relieved; 72% of healthcare workers say that they believe that their employer values the work they do during the crisis.

Daniel Holmberg, Sales Manager UK & International at Quinyx, said:

‘’Deskless workers in the healthcare sector have been critical as we fight the battle against coronavirus. They are the frontline nurses, doctors, carers and hospital workers who have been working hard to keep us safe and healthy.

The country is now moving into a recovery phase, and their role remains critical. It is therefore crucial to protect the mental health of these workers. Employers have a duty of care to their staff, and making sure that those working in healthcare are continuously supported so they can do their jobs effectively will be of the utmost importance in the fight against the virus.

‘’For many employers of healthcare deskless workers, increasing wages or reducing hours can be very challenging, particularly in the current exceptional circumstances. However, there are ways to support and improve the wellbeing of their deskless workforce. And, by offering deskless workers more flexibility over their schedules and keeping communication channels open, employers in the healthcare sector can greatly improve the impact of work conditions on their deskless workers.”