Media Release

The silent epidemic: 8 out of 10 Aussie workers feel ‘unsafe to share struggles’ during COVID-19

A new report into workplace wellbeing during COVID-19 has revealed a significant portion of Australian workers haven’t felt safe to share their struggles with others in the work environment.

The report by global positive psychology experts The Wellbeing Lab and Australia’s peak human resources industry body AHRI, has found eight out of ten Australian workers reported feeling ‘unsafe sharing their struggles at work’.

Co-founder of The Wellbeing Lab Danielle Jacobs says workers surveyed reported that mental health was the leading cause of struggle (35.3%), followed by physical health (23.1%), dealing with colleagues and clients (21.9%), managing money at home (20.8%) and changes at work (19.4%).

“We found that workers who were ‘really struggling’ were actually less likely than other workers to seek help,” Ms Jacobs said.

“In addition, one in five workers indicated they would ‘never’ tell anyone they were struggling with their wellbeing.”

Ms Jacobs said the report found that when workers did seek help, their boss, EAP service or HR team were the ‘least likely’ people they sought help from.

“These findings highlight the importance of making sure leaders and HR personnel work to normalise struggle as being part and parcel of wellbeing.

“Workers need to know that there is no shame in struggling; rather it is a neurological, physical and social invitation for learning and growth – particularly as they navigate the ongoing economic and COVID-19 challenges ahead of workplaces.”

Ms Jacobs said there are a number of strategies that can be introduced around wellbeing which can help workers feel safer to share their struggles; such as offering confidential wellbeing testing, providing wellbeing training sessions and offering access to wellbeing coaches.

“We recommend creating opportunities for people to talk about struggle in appropriate ways in the workplace as an excellent starting point towards this normalisation.”
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For more of the report’s findings alongside recommendations for better managing workplace wellbeing, the full report can be downloaded at: thewellbeinglab.com/report

Danielle Jacobs is co-founder of The Wellbeing Lab; supported and co-founded by
global wellbeing expert and advisor Dr. Michelle McQuaid.

To find out more about The Wellbeing Lab visit thewellbeinglab.com

For more information and to arrange an interview contact:

Anna Milne: 0450 702 712