Slack, the messaging app for business, has today released new research revealing the current mental wellbeing of UK workers. Commissioned in partnership with NHS GP and TV Doctor, Dr Sara Kayat, and to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, the survey examines the impact of the office on wellbeing and indicates how businesses can build healthier workplaces.

With the survey of 1,000 UK knowledge workers revealing over 7 in 10 (73%) employees have experienced burnout in the past year, only 38% feel their workplace values their mental health, and 32% are working more hours overtime, there’s an urgent need for businesses to shift approach – from offering flexibility to adopting the right technology.

Returning to the office is an ongoing concern for workers and employers, with over a third (37%) of workers highlighting that going to the office makes them feel stressed, worried or anxious. For half (49%), this is due to apprehension about harming their work-life balance. The same number (49%) highlight associated costs, such as travel and food as a stressor—at a time when almost 9 in 10 British adults are reporting a rise in their cost of living (ONS).

The study found the majority (70%) of UK workers believe implementing a four-day working week would improve their health and wellbeing at work. The findings for hybrid working are similar, with a large proportion of UK workers (44%) believing this flexible remote-office model of working is best for their mental health and wellbeing. Despite this, only a small number of employees (28%) have a free choice over if and when they work in the office.

Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP and TV Doctor, commented: “Businesses must take action to avoid a wellbeing crisis as workers return to offices. Transparent communication and responding to feedback from their workers is key. Hybrid working, facilitated by technology, can also help employees and businesses build healthier workplaces, empowering teams to work flexibly while still maintaining the human connections we all need to flourish.”

To create a strong hybrid working environment and nurture mental wellbeing, the study revealed technology plays a major role. Over two thirds (69%) of workers agree technology is a help at work, not a hindrance, and 62% say they are able to work more flexibly thanks to technology. Specifically, 55% claim  that hybrid work would not be productive or efficient without using a business messaging app. This is in part thanks to the features offered by this technology with over 3 in 5 (64%) workers claiming tools to ‘snooze’ or turn on ‘do not disturb mode’, which reduce messaging/notifications, will improve mental health and wellbeing at work.

Chris Mills, Head of Customer Success EMEA at Slack, said: “An employee who is cared for, and supported will be inspired to do their best work. It’s positive to see UK workers highlighting that hybrid work and technology has an important part to play in their wellbeing. Kooth PLC, a company that provides digital mental health and wellbeing services, is a positive example of this in practice by using Slack to connect and improve the wellbeing of both employees and customers. To ensure technology continues to be an enabler of healthier workplaces, leaders can also set a good example. Building best practices, for instance on how to use features like ‘Do Not Disturb’ and scheduled messages to avoid out of office messaging can be a great place to start.”

Helping to transform business communications for a variety of teams, such as BT, Man Group, HSBC, Vodafone, Starling Bank, and Deliveroo, Slack is leading a historic shift towards a digital-first world of work thanks to acting as a digital HQ which connects people, apps, and data on a single platform – helping to drive success from anywhere.