December 21 2021 Greek employee assistance project and the Psychology Laboratory of the University of Athens recently released a survey result. The survey shows that more than one-third of participants are frustrated and pessimistic about the future, and are not even interested in anything. Anxiety is the norm for most office workers.
The survey studied the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the mental health of Greek office workers and was conducted in May-June 2021, involving 1,232 employees from the Greek public and private sectors.
The investigators studied nine variables of the participants: anxiety, depression, somatization (psychological problems turn into somatic symptoms), anger, loneliness, quality of life, quality of work, attitudes towards telework, and attitudes towards mental health. In addition, at the time of the survey, 35% of participants worked remotely, 30% worked offline, and the remaining 35% of participants used a mixed online and offline working mode.
The survey shows that more than one-third of participants are frustrated and pessimistic about the future, and are not even interested in anything. Anxiety is the norm for most office workers: about two-thirds (68%) of participants feel nervous or uneasy, 40% are at a loss, and 18% are often afraid. The unprecedented epidemic has also made emotional management extremely difficult, with 70% of participants becoming irritable, 30% having been angry uncontrollably, and 20% often quarreling with others.
During the lockdown, loneliness will increase: about half of the respondents have felt lonely, among whom women and young people feel the most lonely. The physicalization of psychological problems is also particularly serious. 35% of the respondents said they had symptoms of weakness and dizziness, 15% of the respondents felt nausea or stomach discomfort, and even 10% of the respondents had symptoms of dyspnea, heart or chest pain.
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed had a great impact on office workers. It is particularly noteworthy that during the epidemic, female workers have more anxiety, depression and somatization problems than men, and the quality of life of women is also lower. In fact, women have to take on more responsibilities in addition to work. Especially during the two lockdowns in Greece, women may have to take care of children and do housework while working from home, and it is difficult to achieve a complete “work-life” balance.
Although the elderly are vulnerable to this epidemic, they are psychologically healthier than young people. The existence of children in the family has also reduced the psychological impact of the epidemic on office workers. The survey shows that office workers with children have a better quality of life, and there are fewer problems with anxiety, depression, loneliness and somatization.
In terms of the quality of work, the situation is much more complicated. Only 40% of private sector employees and 10% of public sector employees believe that the workplace cares about their mental health, and a total of 39% of the respondents said that the workplace supports employees to solve psychological problems. At the same time, 36% of private sector employees and 9% of public sector employees said that workplaces allowed employees to discuss psychological issues openly, but less than half (48%) of respondents knew about workplace psychological support mechanisms.
The survey also studied the acceptance of office workers for telework, their attitudes towards mental health, and how companies help employees cope with psychological burdens. The results of the survey help to attract the Greek people’s attention to mental health and promote Greek companies to face up to their psychological problems and provide timely help to employees.