A new campaign encouraging a better work-life balance for UK workers has been launched by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

The brand has teamed up with the charity Mental Health UK to provide free support and guidance for its #DownTools campaign.

It says research for the campaign found that 75% of people work beyond their contracted hours, and almost half face having to work at least one weekend a month to catch up, with a third saying working extra hours has increased due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The research also found that overworking and a lack of work-life balance was causing a quarter of UK workers to feel overwhelmed on a weekly basis, while one-in-ten admitted it was a daily problem.

Almost half of the workers surveyed were found to have experienced a mental health issue in the past year, with the negative impact of Covid-19 said to have led to lack of sleep, migraines, and panic attacks.

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles head of marketing Kate Thompson said: “It’s vital that we allow ourselves enough time to switch off from work. The Covid-19 pandemic has blurred the lines between work and life causing a dangerous imbalance, whether that’s struggling to log-off when working from home or battling to keep pace with increased workload. 

“We hope by raising awareness through our #DownTools campaign, we can encourage people to make their mental health a priority, because ultimately we work better when we feel better.”

Mental Health UK director of strategy and partnerships Katie Legg said: “It’s impossible to do our best work without prioritising our mental health. This campaign is a valuable reminder of the importance of taking time out to focus on our wellbeing and all the benefits that can bring. 

“We’re proud to work with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles to create this set of helpful resources and hope it will empower employees to better understand the relationship between their work and mental health, and the practical steps they can take to help regain that sense of balance.”