Sophia Darwin

February 12, 2021

Posted by HSE Recruitment

The impact of the 3rd UK lockdown on the manufacturing sector.

As we navigate through yet another lockdown, the isolation in the gloomy winter months is creating a perfect storm for mental health issues, especially within manufacturing. From conversations I’ve had with my manufacturing network, I’ve discovered four key areas of concern that people were raising.

I was interested to discover what the leading cause for concern was during the national lockdown and how this was impacting mental health. A subject that has been highlighted in recent years and has evolved from a taboo subject to an open topic of conversation in the workplace which indicates huge progression.

We conducted a survey with over 340 respondents and asked out of the 4 following statements which they felt was greatly impacting them due to the current pandemic.

Financial Concerns 26%
Increased stress/ workloads 20%
Feeling isolated/ disconnected 31%
Missing a normal work routine 23%

There wasn’t a huge overriding factor in this, with many stating it isn’t as linear as the above narrative and in fact, all of the factors were affecting them daily. Over a third voted that feeling isolated and disconnected is their main issue with the newly introduced remote working.
Within manufacturing, although many sites are operational there are still roles that have been transferred to remote working, and social distancing measures have caused different shift splits and people feeling disconnected. Financial concerns were a close second within my survey, many respondents have a feeling of uncertainty over the future, those in manufacturing that have had to isolate with sick pay and are unable to work from home have felt the impact of this. Missing a normal working routine and both increased stress and workload are also factors that lockdown has attributed to.



So what can leaders and employers learn from this?

Employee engagement in the manufacturing sector is imperative to ensure a productive and efficient workforce, and of course a healthy one too.
If your team is remotely working, we encourage regular and honest communication, where they can address workload and ensure tasks are shared. Technology is of huge benefit in times like this, utilise video technology to create a feeling of togetherness – this doesn’t always have to be work-related you could organise fun quizzes or social events to take a break from the monotony. A buddy/mentor scheme is also something that could benefit mental health in the workforce, often these schemes are reserved for new starters, but implementing this across the workforce enables people to have another point of contact aside from line management.
In strange and uncertain times communication is key, here at ENG we have explored both employee engagement and mental health in the workplace further.

If you’d like to read more get in touch.