What’s going on:
The Office for National Statistics in the U.K. published data revealing that there has been a significant rise in the number of people unable to work due to sickness primarily caused by depression, anxiety, and long-term COVID-19 symptoms, according to Reuters.
Reuters reports that the number of people available to work remains below pre-pandemic levels in U.K., which has influenced the country’s pandemic recovery.
The Office for National Statistics has reported that out of the over 2.5 million working-age individuals who are chronically ill, the majority are suffering from multiple health issues. Alarmingly, nearly one million of these individuals are dealing with five or more health conditions, marking a significant 42% increase since 2019.
Why it matters:
This data highlights the lasting negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, not just on physical health but also on mental health in the workforce. The rise in long-term sickness is concerning and could have lasting effects on the U.K.’s economic recovery. It also indicates an increasing strain on the country’s National Health Service, which is experiencing a rise in the number of people waiting for treatment.
How it’ll impact the future:
With an increasing number of individuals reporting as unfit to work, it’s likely that the U.K. may face workforce shortages or experience decreased productivity as a result. This situation may inspire an increased focus on mental health and well-being initiatives in workplaces. It might also increase the need for flexible working conditions, such as remote work or flexible hours, to accommodate those suffering from chronic health conditions.