French people in psychological distress since the start of the pandemic

The pandemic has really changed the lives of French people. Babysitting of children who do not have school, authorization to leave, remote work, we can no longer count the unprecedented situations that were experienced in 2020. The lives of the French are turned upside down and this has a negative impact on their morale. In any case, this is what a Empreinte Humaine study (specialist in prevention of psychosocial risks and quality of life at work) reveals.

It has just published the 4th version of its “Barometer of the psychological health of French employees in times of crisis”, produced by the polling institute OpinionWay. And the results are alarming. A study which shows that the crisis is health, economic, social but also psychological. Explanations.

A worrying panorama of the psychological health of employees

This new study aims to monitor changes in indicators related to psychological distress, post-traumatic growth as well as employee resilience. For the first time, it incorporates new indicators such as the risk of burnout.

This study provides an overview of the psychological health of employees after nine months of the pandemic. And it is clear that the results are worrying. Almost hard to believe. The indicators are deteriorating dangerously. First among them, psychological distress reached 49% (+7 compared to May 2020). Among this small half, 18% are in high psychological distress. 35% of respondents are in a state of severe emotional exhaustion. 1,000,000 employees are in severe burnout. This still represents 5% of the working population! Finally, a quarter of those surveyed said they had already taken a work stoppage because of stress or anxiety. This represents approximately 5,500,000 employees.

“These results are extremely worrying and show the urgency to act. The health crisis took all of society by surprise, including businesses. After 9 months of crisis, the entire world of work is exhausted whether it is employees or managers, all indicate an alarming state “commented the work psychologists who founded Footprint Humaine.

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A relationship between responsibilities and exposure to psychological problems

The study shows that the rise in the feeling of psychological distress is all the greater when there are employees under your responsibility. Indeed, there is no less than 58% of psychological distress among managers. That is 10% more than the last one carried out in May. A quarter of the managers surveyed are in a state of high distress (+4 compared to May). And these figures are increasing for managers of managers. It peaks at 72% (+6). The first testimonials show 2 main reasons for this problem.

First, managers and executives bemoan the stress of losing control over employees. Despite the emergence of many digital control tools, physical remoteness increases this feeling. Second reason mentioned, the French law, very protective for the employee in terms of well-being. Indeed, the employer has a duty to guarantee the psychological well-being of the employee, at the risk of being sued before the industrial tribunal. This responsibility is thus placed on the backs of direct managers. The latter are forced to “absorb” the discomfort of their teleworking employees. Two reasons which explain these alarming figures on their psychological health.

While the founders of Empreinte Humaine had noted a slight improvement after the first deconfinement, the results of the 4th barometer of the psychological health of French employees in times of crisis are alarming. However, few solutions are considered. Tomorrow, all in burnout? It seems urgent to act.