Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.10 23 Jul 2020


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Working from home has had a "huge impact" on many people's sleep and fatigue level, according to mental health organisation which has conducted a survey on the impacts of the sudden change in working arrangements.

Mental Health First Aid Ireland surveyed nearly 1,200 workers between May and June.

Their research found that while many love the freedom of working from home, many workers' health has been suffering in a variety of ways.

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Mental Health First Aid manager Donal Scanlan spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about their findings.

Working from home has had huge impact on many people's sleep, survey shows

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He said a huge amount of people suddenly found themselves working at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, before any risk assessments could be done about the impact of the change.

He explained: “We’ve had huge outcomes in relation to physical and mental health.

“We’ve seen an increase in alcohol consumption of around 24.9%... we’ve seen 30% of people eating less healthily, and 40% [with] a worsening of the amount of exercise they’ve been taking.

“There’s a huge impact on sleep - around 40% of people have lost sleep due to the worry and concern around COVID. 50% of people are experiencing a huge amount of fatigue as a result of working from home.”

The results also showed nearly half of people were having trouble achieving a work-life balance given the long and unusual hours when working from home.

Mr Scanlon said his own charity is based out of St John of God’s Hospital in Dublin, and the hospital has seen a “huge increase” in acute admissions due to anxiety problems related to COVID-19.

He said: “We know that physical and mental health are inextricably linked.

“When people experience physical health problems - such as sleep disorders or diet and exercise issues - this leads to a huge impact on mental health problems or even mental illness.

“People have been commenting on, very anecdotal recently, the potential second wave of problems in relation to mental health after COVID-19 - what we’re seeing now is some evidence for some of the precursors and early signs of that difficulty.”

He urged employers to start preparing for what is "coming down the line" in relation to these issues.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA Images

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