Clinical psychologists’ well-being and experiences of home working during COVID-19
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 18 August 2022
Issue publication date: 2 January 2023
The purpose of this paper was to explore the well-being and experiences of working from home (WFH) for psychology staff across a range of specialties working within one health board in Scotland during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, 161 clinical psychology professionals took part in an online survey that explored experiences of WFH during the COVID-19 pandemic and assessed well-being during this period.
A number of challenges with WFH were identified, including challenges with carrying out clinical work (e.g. communication difficulties, risk assessment) and fewer opportunities for collaborative working and technical/equipment issues. During the WFH period, 46% experienced fatigue, 45% felt stressed and anxious and 30% felt lonely and isolated, compared to normal. Physical health complaints were also common with 37% experiencing aches/pains in back compared to normal and 40% experiencing headaches or migraines.
Remote therapy should be directed to those with less complex needs or who require straightforward assessments. There should be increased access to occupational health assessments and provision of ergonomic furniture when WFH, and all staff should be supported to access well-being resources available within the health board. Further evaluation should be carried out to support evidence-based practice of remote clinical work.
Few studies have explored the experiences of WFH and/or remotely from the perspectives of clinical psychologists in a Scottish health board. It is expected that this way of working will continue, albeit to a smaller extent; therefore, WFH policy will be informed by the findings.
The authors would like to thank all participants and also members of the Psychology Research Group, Kirsten Atherton, Laura Brougham, Stephanie Crawford, Annette Lloyd, Tracey McKee, Sejal Patel, Ross Shearer, Andy Siddaway and Ruth Stocks for contributing to the development of the survey and providing feedback on draft manuscripts. In addition, the authors would like to thank Stephanie Birney, Salla Karki and Camille Neale for assisting with the survey qualitative data analysis.
Tolland, H. and Drysdale, E. (2023), "Clinical psychologists’ well-being and experiences of home working during COVID-19", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 78-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2021-0098
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