Insecure financial situations, worsening physical health and boredom in both work and free time were the biggest factors affecting British and French employees’ well-being during the first coronavirus pandemic lockdown, according to new research from the international Emylon Business School in Lyon, France.

The study, by the business school’s Lifestyle Research Center, looked at the impact of employees’ workload, job security, lifestyle and circumstances during the first lockdown period on their well-being.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected U.K. and French citizens working lives, whether it be an enforced work from home, increased job insecurity, a larger workload, the stress of juggling family and work or even a dangerous work environment — all of these have hugely impacted employee’s well-being,” said Professor Joonas Rokka, director of the Lifestyle Research Center, in a press release.

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Perhaps surprisingly, the researchers found that socioeconomic status — or a person’s specific job — had no correlation to their well-being. The researchers also suggested a reason for those who had job insecurity and boredom in their role and were also experiencing worsening physical health may be due to the loss and gain spirals theory, wherein loss of valuable resources (i.e., money, security) leads to further loss (i.e., exercise) resulting in deteriorating well-being.

However, the researchers also said it’s important to state that not all employees suffered with well-being issues and many actually reported positive well-being during the lockdown both from a work and personal perspective — likely due to increased finances and a busy, but interesting workload, noted the study.

“There were, of course, many employees who were thriving during the first COVID-19 lockdown,” said Lotta Harju, professor of organizational behaviour at Emlyon Business School. “This may be due to a shift for working from home, removing long commutes [and] allowing more family time. These respondents also reported a slight decrease in their workloads, relative financial stability and stable physical health.”

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