With COVID-19 creating more anxiety around the workday commute, new research from Sonder reveals burgeoning safety and mental health concerns.
Feelings of anxiety and discomfort in the workplace are experienced by thousands of Australian professionals every day. The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a fundamental shift in the way that Australians work, and with this has come a raft of personal safety and wellbeing concerns. New research from Australia’s leading personal safety and mental health support company Sonder has revealed further insight into how pervasive the problem really is.
The research revealed that 40% of female professional consultants have often been exposed to situations in their workplace that made them feel unsafe, while almost 1 in 3 women reported feeling uncomfortable while working offsite at a client’s office.
“For a country that prides itself on having an advanced, diverse, and globally competitive workforce, we need to do better. Workplaces have a responsibility and duty of care to all their staff, and the fact that so many women don’t feel completely safe at their place of work is an urgent issue which needs addressing,” said Craig Cowdrey, CEO and Co-Founder at Sonder.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ most recent Personal Safety Survey, approximately 38% of women (421,400) as opposed to 16% of men (185,200) aged 18-24 years had experienced sexual harassment in the last 12 months. While one in six women (17% or 1.6 million), as opposed to one in fifteen men (6.5% or 587,000), had experienced an episode of stalking since the age of 15.
With Sonder’s new research also revealing that 1 in 4 women frequently leave work after dark, Mr Cowdrey said that Sonder’s 24/7 on-demand support network helps to alleviate the stress and anxiety women feel about traveling alone.
“With COVID-19 the advice around work commuting is creating even more uncertainty and stress, based on suggestions to: commute in off peak hours; avoid public transport; walk where possible, and travel in office tower lifts with just one other person,” said Mr Cowdrey.
The Australian tech start-up supports users with three modalities;
Urgent assistance: A user can swipe to automatically send a help alert to Sonder’s support centre, notifying them of their exact location and initiating remote or in-person assistance.
Check on me: If meeting someone new or going to an unfamiliar destination makes users feel uneasy or uncomfortable, Sonder’s 'Check on me' feature allows the team to contact you regularly to make sure you are OK and send help if you cannot be contacted.
Track my journey: Users can choose to have their journey monitored 24/7. This may include walking, taxi ride, private car or public transport.
Sonder’s nationwide support network can provide on-the-ground assistance across 90 percent of Australia's population within 20 minutes.