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Wellbeing amongst PAs and EAs has taken a dive since lockdown restrictions were enforced, according to a new survey by recruiting expert Hays. As the UK recognises Mental Health Awareness Week, Hays urges employers to consider the effect working remotely in lockdown is having on their staff.

From a survey of over 16,200 respondents, 325 of whom are PAs and EAs, close to two thirds (62%) rated their wellbeing as positive before restrictions were put in place, but only 39% said it was still positive since lockdown. Those who rated their wellbeing as negative rose from 11% to 20%.

Almost a third (31%) said a lack of social interaction has been the greatest challenge to their wellbeing, followed by isolation and loneliness (13%).

Workers look to employers for more support
More than four fifths of PAs and EAs (87%) say their employer has a responsibility to look after their wellbeing, but 40% state that their employer hasn’t provided any wellbeing support during the lockdown.

Of those who said their employer was providing support, social activities and counselling were most offered (both 24%), followed by health (such as an online doctor) (16%).

Work/life balance is a bigger priority since lockdown
For roughly half (48%) of those who work in these roles, work/life balance has become more important to them since lockdown, despite 42% rating their work-life balance between average and very poor.

Having adequate mental health support from their employer has also become more important since being in lockdown, according to 49%.

Roddy Adair, Director of Hays Personal and Executive Assistants, commented: “Wellbeing should be at the top of the agenda for employers of PAs and EAs, as the effects of the virus are felt on all aspects of our lives. Being sensitive to the different impacts it will have on staff is hugely important, as is remaining transparent and communicating to leaders and employees frequently as our way of working continues to change. 

“Some of the steps employers can take include using internal communication channels to feed wellbeing advice to staff, cultivating an open and trustworthy culture, keeping in regular contact with staff by talking face-to-face where possible and being flexible with schedules and expectations. Putting these support systems in place will help professionals with upcoming changes and challenges and help PAs and EAs carry out the vital work they do.”