The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Hays issued a warning to its members and the wider marketing community to consider the wellbeing of employees working from home. The call comes in response to research from recruiting experts Hays that shows half (47%) of employers had failed to provide any form of wellbeing support to marketing teams since lockdown began 100 days ago.
The consequences of social isolation and enforced absence from the office have had a severe impact on the mental well-being of marketers. A quarter (25%) of those in marketing said a lack of social interaction has been the greatest challenge to their wellbeing, followed by isolation and loneliness (15%). Gen Z, born after 1995, were more than a third (38%) more likely to report feeling isolated than their Generation X colleagues.
The research surveyed 16,200 respondents in total, just a third (32%) of the 575 marketing professionals studied rated their wellbeing positive, just half of the figure reported before restrictions were put in place (62%). The number rating their wellbeing as negative rose from 8% to 28% over the same period.
Gemma Butler, Director of Marketing at CIM said: “Employers have a duty of care to their employees and these findings paint a worrying picture suggesting a widespread lack of support. All of us are navigating uncharted waters, but we must continue to act with professionalism and compassion. Whether it’s a simple call, regular communications or maintaining development through different support mechanisms, all serve to help teams feel supported and valued. "
The majority of professionals (78%) surveyed believe their employer has a responsibility to look after their wellbeing. CIM has produced an ongoing range of content for marketers to support them through the coronavirus pandemic, including advice and information on well-being. To allow marketing professionals to continue their learning and development we have virtual and online learning across our training courses and professional qualifications. Similarly, Hays Thrive is a free online training platform available to all organisations designed to help get their workforce prepared and give them the tools they need to thrive in a new world of work.
Discussing the findings, neuroscientist Katie Hart, FCIM and Director at Rhetonic Ltd said: “These results present a worrying, yet not surprising, picture for marketing professionals. As human beings, social interactions are vital to our mental, and indeed physical, health. The negative effects of isolation that many of us are experiencing (e.g. anxiety, stress, depression) are exacerbated as we have little control over our situation and feel that we cannot do anything to fundamentally change our circumstances. Taking a few moments to reach out to colleagues, peers and employees is such a simple, and yet powerful, way to improve their wellbeing…as well as our own!“
Clare Kemsley, Director of Hays Marketing, commented: “Staff wellbeing needs to be a top priority for all employers as the effects of the virus are felt on our personal and professional lives. Although the impacts will be different for everyone, remaining transparent and communicating to leaders and employees frequently will be extremely important as our way of working continues to change.
Some of the steps employers can take include using internal communication channels to provide 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. We can’t replicate all the ways of office life, but we can make sure that better support systems are in place to help marketers through the changes and challenges.”
For COVID-19 advice and support for CIM members visit: https://www.cim.co.uk/membership/advice-and-support-coronavirus/
To discover insights from Hays about leading your team through an everchanging era of work, visit:https://www.hays.co.uk/lead-in-the-new-era
About the research
The survey was carried out between 23rd April – May 4th 2020. The survey received 16,228 responses from both employees and employers. The findings above reflect responses from 575 employees who work in marketing.