The Mental Well-Being of Italian Workers

According to the latest findings, 40% of Italian workers are not completely satisfied with their professional situation, a condition that affects their psychological well-being. For three out of four Italian workers, the most experienced feelings in their everyday life are related to anxiety and stress, and the recent lockdown contributed to increasing the feelings of anxiety and discomfort (+ 15%), as well as the spread of diseases such as insomnia (+ 9%).

From companies’ point of view, more than 60% promote actions aimed at increasing the well-being of their employees, focusing above all on flexibility and / or economic benefits. Still few, however, bet on initiatives aimed at supporting the psychological well-being of individuals, but 60% of employers say they intend to activate initiatives in this sense.

This is what emerges from the latest BVA Doxa research for Mindwork, the first Italian company for online psychological counseling in the corporate environment which, in view of the International Day of Mental Health scheduled for Saturday 10 October, wanted to investigate one of the hottest topics of the post-lockdown: the psychological well-being of workers.

On the occasion of the International Mental Health Day of Saturday 10 October, BVA Doxa unveils the data of the latest research for Mindwork dedicated to the experience, needs and desires of employees of Italian companies. What emerges is a very strong awareness on the strong correlation between any inconvenience recorded in the workplace and a non-optimal psychological condition.

ANXIETY AND STRESS AMONG 3 IN 4 WORKERS – For three out of four Italian workers, the most experienced feelings in everyday life are related to anxiety and stress. In particular, the most common are uncertainty (45%) and concern (39%), with a homogeneous distribution throughout the national territory and for all socio-demographic levels. Although it is a clear minority, there are also those who manage to live their working life peacefully: one in ten workers, in fact, declares themselves fully satisfied with their jobs and enjoys an optimal psycho-physical balance.

THE LOCKDOWN WORSENS THE ALREADY DELICATE PICTURE – For half of Italian workers, a typical working day is accompanied by different levels of stress, which the more overtime increases. Furthermore, a higher incidence rate of negative feelings is recorded among those who report a medium-low working well-being. Disorders linked to tension such as irritability, restlessness, or anxiety affect about one in four workers at least once a month. Moreover, there are difficulties caused by the need to effectively balance work with their private life: only one in three workers claims to have found this balance. Finally, the situation was further worsened by the lockdown of recent months, which contributed to an increase in feelings of anxiety and discomfort (+ 15%), as well as the spread of diseases such as insomnia (+ 9%).

ABSENTEEISM FROM WORK: WHAT CONSEQUENCES? – Almost one in three workers admits to being absent from work one or more times due to excessive stress and anxiety, and this condition particularly affects the top management. Moreover, economic problems also arise from this picture: the European Commission, in fact, estimates the losses in productivity caused by absenteeism from the workplace resulting from psychological malaise at 136 billion. Then there are those who have evaluated the most extreme scenario: 37% of Italian workers, in fact, have left a job due to the emotional malaise linked to the professional environment, and this phenomenon would seem to be particularly common among the under 34s.

 

COMPANIES’ POINT OF VIEW: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES – Faced with such a burdensome context made even more complex by the COVID-19 emergency, more than 60% of companies promote actions aimed at increasing the well-being of their workers, by focusing on flexibility (both in terms of working hours and smart working incentives) and / or economic benefits. However, few still bet on initiatives aimed at supporting the psychological well-being of individuals. Yet there is space: over 60% would positively evaluate an initiative in this sense. But be careful: talking openly about psychological distress is still difficult. Almost 50% of workers, in fact, do not feel free to declare their malaise. And if there is less reticence with friends and family, the work environment still appears to be an unsuitable place in which to express one’s own discomfort. The picture is undoubtedly worrying, but  there are positive signs: four out of five workers are satisfied with the relationships they have in the workplace, which is confirmed by the desire registered by many employees (60%) to be able to return to the company after long periods of remote work.

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