Wellbeing survey

In June, we asked advisers to participate in our Wellbeing Survey.  We had an excellent response, and the answers we received will underpin our Wellbeing Index. Some of the most urgent results we found were those around Coronavirus and workplace stress.

Our briefing paper, ‘COVID-19’s Impact on Adviser Wellbeing: a spotlight analysis’, examines the impact of the crisis on adviser wellbeing in the workplace and sets out the primary stressors affecting them. It aims to offer a better understanding of the issues at hand in order to clarify the type of change and support necessary in order to minimise the harm done to advisers as they grapple with a potentially overwhelming surge in cases. 


Given how fast-moving developments relating to lockdown have been, it may be useful to provide context for the situation in the second half of June, to understand the circumstances in which respondents completed the survey. Scotland had been in lockdown for three months and had just entered Phase 2. This phase expanded socialising to permit up to 8 people from three households to meet outdoors, made face coverings on public transport mandatory, began to reopen some types of business, and resumed or scaled up many healthcare services. Face-to-face advice services remained closed, largely offering remote services instead, but the prospect of reopening in the foreseeable future became more realistic. 

Key findings

  • Nine out of ten respondents predicted that they will experience some or a significant increase in stress levels over the next twelve months; this is a 37% increase on the findings of a survey taken last year
  • 65% of respondents cited their fear of a COVID-19 related increase in workload as the primary reason for a predicted increase in stress levels
  • 64% of advisers said that the level of capacity of their organisation harmed their wellbeing
  • Half of advice sector staff disagreed or strongly disagreed that they were confident that their organisation was prepared to deal with an influx in demand as a result of COVID-19

We found that issues identified in the rest of the survey, which asked respondents to consider factors which helped and harmed wellbeing, what wellbeing resources they have in the workplace, and the presence of key indicators for wellbeing in the workplace, showed trends which reflected their projected future, even taking COVID-19 into account. Over the past twelve months advisers have been harmed by organisational capacity, levels of administration and bureaucracy, and increasingly complex cases. The onset of COVID-19 has not changed these concerns; they thematically underpinned all of the primary stressors predicted by advisers, but the context of the pandemic has cast them in a new and more urgent light.

It is important to note that this research is a starting point. This survey is the first of several which will be taken over the year to monitor wellbeing and build a picture in our Wellbeing Index of what needs to change to improve wellbeing among money advisers. These findings are also based on adviser’s predictions; as we hold further surveys, we will be able to see whether these projections are accurate.