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WoW – how has COVID-19 affected your employment and mental wellbeing?

Monday, 18 May 2020

A new study, launched during Mental Health Awareness Week, will investigate how people’s work and employment has changed because of COVID-19, and how this has affected their mental wellbeing.


The Wellbeing of the Workforce (WoW) study will also look at what might be helping people to cope with the current uncertainties around their jobs.

The study is a collaboration between experts from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), and the Schools of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University.

Peoples’ experiences of working during the COVID-19 pandemic have been very different. Those who have remained employed may be experiencing challenges of working from home or facing additional demands as key workers; those who have been ‘furloughed’ by their employer may be facing concerns about their job re-starting; those on zero hours contracts or who have been made redundant due to COVID-19 are likely to be facing financial difficulties; and the self-employed may be in a similar situation due to the inability to work due to lockdown restrictions.

This study aims to understand how these different experiences have affected people’s wellbeing, their feelings about their work and their future employment, and whether certain sources of support or resilience help to protect people from some of the possible negative experiences. “
Dr Louise Thomson, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, and one of the leads on the project

The team will conduct a longitudinal survey to look at recent changes (and changes over time) in how people work, health and well-being, and how people feel about the support they are getting from their employer as well as their family and friends.

They will also interview people to find out more details about their experience of working or being furloughed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Dr Juliet Hassard, from the Division of Psychiatry and Applied Psychology in the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, said: “The findings will help us to develop recommendations and guidance for individuals, employers and policy makers on how to support the well-being and resilience of the workforce.”

Members of the public who want to take part in the online survey, can do so here.

To find out more about the interviews, or to take part in an interview, people can email the study team at WoWstudy@nottingham.ac.uk

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Louise Thomson from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, at louise.thomson@nottingham.ac.uk

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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