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Data from new research undertaken by The Talent Enterprise, the global tech human capital company headquartered in the UAE, has revealed that while the GCC’s workforce is reporting improved overall wellbeing since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still much to be done. 68% of employees reported increased levels of stress at work, while 48% stated that their workload increased significantly in the past 12 months.

Seemingly contradictory findings emerged where one third of the region’s employees are feeling increased stress, fatigue and burnout, while simultaneously reporting an overall improvement in wellbeing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings highlight the complexities of employee wellbeing in this era of the ‘new normal’ where a sense of euphoria, as well as persistent exhaustion and on-going stress go hand-in-hand.

Other key findings from The Talent Enterprise’s most recent research includes:

·         The overall level of employee wellbeing has increased significantly by over 32% from the start of the pandemic in 2020 and an overwhelming 82% of people are much more positive and hopeful about the future.

·         78% of employees believe that their digital habits and overall digital health deteriorated since the onset of the pandemic, leading to an increased sense of digital fatigue and an inability to 'switch off'. This includes time spent on virtual calls and emails at work as well as social media, gaming and OTT platforms outside work.

·         8 of 10 employees in the GCC do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health at work, compared to 5 of 10 employees in Europe and North America.

·         Over 46% of leaders are currently feeling overwhelmed and re-evaluating their own priorities as part of the #greatreset.

·         4 in 5 managers do not feel fully equipped to have meaningful conversations with their teams on wellbeing, especially on mental health.

The findings are revealed within a dedicated whitepaper co-written by the founders of The Talent Enterprise, David Jones and Radhika Punshi, titled ‘Understanding the Science of Wellbeing: Beyond the Hype’, which calls for improved methods of managing employee wellbeing in a post-pandemic world.

As one of the most pioneering human capital technology startups to be founded in the UAE, with global expansion and presence in UK, Canada, India, The Talent Enterprise offers talent and leadership assessments to governments and leading private sector organisations, including wellbeing strategies, surveys and diagnostics. The Talent Enterprise has helped organisations across the globe, including the Abu Dhabi government and the Ministry of Education in the UAE, design and implement wellbeing strategies based on positive psychology and behavioral science.

The latest data insights by The Talent Enterprise demonstrates optimism and a positive trend, while also highlighting a distinct gap that exists between the workplace of today and one that nurtures employee’s mental health in its greatest capacity, as one of the most critical skills for the future of work.

Workplaces in the Middle East have changed significantly since the onset of the pandemic, with many operating remotely or adopting a hybrid model of in-office and work-from-home practices.  While this has offered employees flexibility, it has also led to an ‘always-on’ approach where people feel unable to detach from their work, regardless of location. ‘The Great Resignation’ - a global trend of employees resigning to pursue a different career or career path - is one crucial outcome that has emerged and has been compounded by general stress and trauma related to COVID-19.

The UAE is a shining example of a country that has placed a high importance on employee wellbeing with several initiatives and laws introduced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to address the matter and set a global benchmark. The progressive four-and-a-half-day work week (and four-days in Sharjah) has garnered global attention and placed the UAE high on the list of most favourable locations to work.

“We are living through a unique time as employees across the world are feeling the compounding effects of COVID-19 on their professional lives,” says Radhika Punshi, co-founder of The Talent Enterprise, co-author of the whitepaper and leading occupational psychologist. “Our research demonstrated great optimism within the GCC’s workforce, however we must also address the concerning data trends around fatigue, stress and burnout. At the Talent Enterprise, we provide organisations with the data insights and consultation they need to implement an effective integrated wellbeing strategy that includes shifting the leadership mindset to shape an employee-centered wellbeing culture and building skills for managers to have meaningful conversations with employees around mental health. We are in an interesting inflection point in the realm of employee wellbeing where progress is being hindered by increasing workload and an ‘always-on’ digital culture. With our upcoming whitepaper we hope to increase awareness of the complexities and intricacies of employee wellbeing, with a view to helping organisations implement strategies that make a difference.”

Source: Q Communications