NEWS1 November 2022

Hybrid working helps lead improvement in mental health

News People UK Wellbeing

UK – There has been an improvement in the level of mental health support in the market research industry, although 83% of researchers report having had negative mental wellbeing, according to research from Opinium and the Market Research Society (MRS).

Mental health abstract image

The Mental wellbeing in research tracker 2022, which has run for four years, found that work was becoming less stressful, with a 17% fall from 2021 to a fifth of researchers reporting high levels of work stress.

The proportion of the industry facing high work levels was below the national average of 24%, and the proportion of researchers experiencing negative mental health also reduced slightly from 87% to 83%.

The survey found that seven in 10 supported hybrid working, where teams split time between home and the office, with researchers particularly valuing the lighting, space and stimulation of an office environment, while describing their home as being more pleasant, appealing and colourful.

There was only a quarter of respondents, down from a third in 2021,  who believed mental wellbeing support at their firm was inadequate, according to the research, while 75% said more home working gave them a better work-life balance.

However, only 19% of market researchers who experienced poor mental health took leave, and half of those who didn’t said it was due to their workload.

The full findings will be released at a breakfast event on Wednesday 16th November at Opinium’s office in central London.

Jane Frost, chief executive at MRS, said: “As heartening as it is to see an improvement in our sector’s mental wellbeing, we cannot rest on our laurels, and we must continue to strive to do better. This research makes clear that many still struggle to act upon their stress or anxiety, a barrier that we need to break down.

“In the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, it’s likely many will be feeling anxious and stressed, and as leaders in market research, we need to ensure we’re offering as much wellbeing support as we possibly can.”

James Endersby, chief executive at Opinium, said: “While there is a year-on-year improvement, having 83% of our most important assets telling us that they have ‘experienced negative mental health’ is clearly not good enough.

“Leaders at agencies and in-house teams must continue to prioritise the mental wellbeing of their colleagues. Workload remains a huge issue and leaders need to find ways of restructuring or redesigning to help alleviate this long-term aggravating factor.”