Almost 75% of retail workers felt anxious about going into work last year, according to a new survey by trade union Usdaw.
Usdaw said 70% of the 4000 respondents attributed the Covid-19 pandemic as the main factor causing anxiety, in fear of contracting the virus.
The research comes at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Some comments made by retail staff members, revealed in the survey include: “I feel that customers are forgetting to social distance – you stay back to try and social distance but sometimes they touch us to get our attention.”
Another said: “The past few years I’ve had financial troubles, but knowing there’s a supposed recession around the corner when I’m already struggling has really made the stress and worry a lot worse.”
General rudeness has increased during the pandemic, according to frontline workers.
“Anxiety about exposure to the virus and social distancing in workplaces, increased customer abuse, isolation from friends and family, homeschooling and juggling work with care, stress and worry about the future, about job security and family income – Usdaw members are facing these pressures on a daily basis,” Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said.
“The survey demonstrates the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of Usdaw members and gives a voice to their experience of working in critical sectors of the economy throughout the coronavirus crisis.
“We remain focused on identifying how work affects our members’ mental health and ensure members get the right support when it does.”