Under pressure – VRA survey shows 47% ‘facing work-life balance issues’
Nobody would argue with the statement that the times in which we are currently living are unprecedented, both in our commercial and everyday lives. We are having to face a constant barrage of new challenges to our usual ways of doing business, taking account of changes – some seemingly conflicting – in legislation and recommended working practices.
There is much talk about ‘the new normal’ as people and companies try to adapt to different ways of working. Lockdowns and social distancing have added to the pressure felt by many, with staff being furloughed and told to stay at home for many weeks – in effect being paid not to work.
During this period we have seen a number of ingenious schemes employed to enable businesses to carry on working in some semblance of normality, but for some workers, the initial novelty of what felt like an extended holiday has worn off, and time hangs heavily on their hands.
But to what extent has the current situation affected the day-to-day attitudes of the average worker? The Vehicle Remarketing Association recently held a webinar, entitled “How to Stay Well in a Time of Crisis” that was designed to provide guidance on member wellbeing through the coronavirus era.
47 per cent of respondents to a snapshot survey say they are currently facing issues affecting their work-life balance – but, encouragingly, 89 per cent say they are “somewhat confident” about coping with the stress caused.
VRA chair Sam Watkins said: “The sample size for this was small – restricted to VRA members with around 20 people responding – but it does provide a useful indication of the how people in our sector are coping through current conditions.
“Overall, the survey chimes with the mood of the webinar itself – members are currently under quite a lot of pressure but the majority believe that they coping. What we are trying to do is signpost support for those who are perhaps struggling a little.”
The snapshot survey also asked members what coping techniques they were using and the answers ranged from golfing and finding time to spend with friends to taking out a Netflix subscription and buying a new motorbike. Conversely, those that outlined problems that were weighing heavily on them mentioned uncertainty, concern about the future, and feeling as though events were out of their control.
Watkins said: “What seems to be the case is that a lot of people have developed individual coping mechanisms and that most of them are good solutions – but a few are certainly feeling the pressure. We hope that the webinar was useful to them and that, if they feel they need further support, that they can reach out.”
Speakers on the webinar included Prash Kotecha of Mantra Consulting, on reducing stress and building resilience, and Rachel Clift, health and wellbeing director at automotive industry charity Ben, on support and services that are available.
Two VRA members also opened up about their own experiences – Derren Martin of cap hpi on his battle against prostate cancer and James Davis of Cox Automotive on the stigma of mental health in the workplace.
Sam Watkins said: “Hearing VRA members talk about issues they had experienced and how they had overcome them was very, very powerful.”