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    Rebuilding the Workplace to Promote Young Workers’ Mental Health

    Parry, Sarah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5666-1997, Carr, Natalie, Staniford, Leanne and Walker, Lucy (2022) Rebuilding the Workplace to Promote Young Workers’ Mental Health. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 15 (3). ISSN 1753-8351

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    Abstract

    Purpose Young adults have been particularly adversely affected by COVID-19 related disruptions, especially in relation to industries with an over-representation of young adults. This report discusses findings from survey data from young adults who reported poorer mental health comparative to older generations prior to the pandemic. Drawing on international literature and our research findings, we propose recommendations for rebuilding the workplace post-pandemic to support young adult’s mental health. Design and methodological approach Data from 1,999 respondents (aged 16-29, 30-44, 45-59 and 60+) from 200 organisations in the United Kingdom were sought in relation to workplace wellbeing and mental health through a 15-item multiple choice online survey. Overall, 17% of the sample were senior management, 31% junior management, 37% in non-management roles and a further 15% stated ‘other’. Exploratory quantitative analyses were undertaken to assess differences in responses to questions between age groups. Findings Participants in the 16-29-year-old age group were more likely than any other age group to report that work adversely affected their mental health. They reported their mental health challenges influenced their performance at work, that they had witnessed colleagues’ employment negatively influenced by mental health challenges, and they felt more comfortable citing physical health challenges for absence over mental health difficulties. Originality COVID-19 related disruptions meant a large-scale move to remote working for many people. As we return to physical workplaces, we have an exciting opportunity to reform and improve the status quo. Our findings in relation to the mental health of young adults highlight key risk factors that need to be addressed.

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