Most retail workers faced mental ‘deterioration’ during pandemic

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About 84 per cent of retail workers in the UK claimed their mental health deteriorated during the Covid-19 pandemic, states a recent study which also stated that people working on the shop floor and in distribution warehouses are more likely to be affected

According to a 2021 study by the Retail Trust, many reported symptoms of increased anxiety, sleeping difficulties, appetite changes, and long-lasting sadness.

For an average of 35 per cent it went beyond manageable. Increased anxiety, worry and fear were felt by 88 per cent of those who were surveyed by Retail Trust. 59 per cent of survey respondents reported long-lasting sadness or irritability

While mental health issues can affect retail employees of every age, people in their 20s reported the lowest wellbeing levels.

About 91 per cent of managers noticed an increase in mental health issues among their staff, says the report.

Highlighting how retail employees are often subject to verbal and physical abuse from customers. With about 90 per cent of retail staff having reported experiencing assault, threats, or abuse within the last 12 months in the 2021 study, Retail Trust study advises firms to provide their employees with conflict management training, as well as offer informal support.

Incidents like threats from shoplifters, intoxicated customers, young people embarrassed to provide proof of age, or people unwilling to follow social distancing measures, can take a toll on retail employees’ mental health, which can lead to many people developing anxiety, depression, or another disorder, says the report.

About 88 per cent of front-line store workers said they had experienced verbal abuse in 2020 while 60 per cent of front-line store workers reported being threatened.

Employees struggling with financial difficulties are more likely to experience sleep deprivation, make poor health choices, and feel unfulfilled in their lives.

Improving financial education could help employees gain tighter control of their cash flow and make smarter money decisions moving forward, says the report. 

The report also mentions that companies must strive to be as flexible as possible for their staff to protect their mental health, improve morale and provide a better work-life balance.