31 Mar 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated a move towards more remote consultations in the future. For example, GP surgeries and other primary care consultants are now offering patients telephone or online consultations, saving time waiting and costs of travel. The NHS also plans for every patient in England to be able to access remote appointments in the next five years. 

Given this change in the nature of the workplace, the impact of remote working on the wellbeing of health care workers in the NHS needs to be investigated, and better understood, so that interventions can be developed that minimise any negative effects.     

Aim of this study

In this study, researchers in the ARC’s applied informatics theme led by Dr Mariana Pinto da Costa, senior lecturer at King’s College London, are using a survey to investigate the impact of remote working on the perception of loneliness and workplace isolation on health care employees at a large mental health care trust in south London, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM).

The aim is to understand any impact on staff wellbeing and to look at the potential protective factor of perceived social support on the association between loneliness, workplace isolation and negative wellbeing outcomes.

Potential benefits of this research include:

  • adding to the evidence that staff may require extra support while working from home during the pandemic, to prevent the harmful effects of workplace isolation and loneliness
  • providing recommendations for the nature of remote working at SLaM
  • reframing any current workplace restrictions to protect the wellbeing of NHS staff
  • providing evidence to promote social support amongst the NHS staff to reduce any negative wellbeing outcomes
  • providing evidence to help develop interventions that can minimise negative effects of remote working on staff wellbeing and ensuring patients receive the highest quality of care.

How will the study be conducted?

This study is using a cross-sectional survey to investigate the association between remote working, workplace isolation, loneliness, perceived social support and wellbeing.

Anonymised data is being collected from health care workers at SLaM. For this study, a healthcare worker is defined as any member of staff at SLaM that provides care or helps support people with mental health problems or an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Complete the survey 

Staff at SLaM are invited to complete this anonymous questionnaire, comprising of five scales, to collect data on loneliness, workplace isolation, perceived social support and wellbeing.

This study has been adopted by ARC South London and is being carried out between February and August 2022.