Temporary employment: how it affects mental health

Temporary employment has a fixed duration (sometimes even a single day, sometimes weeks or months). In other words, they have a fixed expiry date after which they are either renewed or terminated, in contrast to permanent employment contracts. 

This legal figure is useful as a flexible solution to a variety of labor relationships that the market needs to establish permanently. However, when it is abused, using it systematically with the same individual, even when their working conditions could be improved through a permanent contract, produces damaging consequences both for the company and for the psychological well-being of the employee. 

Therefore, stringing together temporary contracts with an employee may have short-term advantages for everyone involved, but its real profitability decreases if this formula is used unnecessarily, leading to a situation of job uncertainty and insecurity (and, therefore, psychological distress) as well as an obstacle in the company’s overall productivity

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temporary employment affects mental health

Consequences of abusing temporary employment and how it affects mental health

Temporary employment has its reason for being in many situations, but it is the permanent contract that ends up providing the employee with a real sense of stability, formality, and security in the employment relationship.

Therefore, if temporary employment is chained together longer than necessary, the obvious perception you have as an employee is that the company is not committed to you and is not investing in you. If that is the case, why would you commit to it? In this way, the abuse of temporary employment affects mental health as it reduces the employee’s sense of belonging and their identification with the company, which is harmful to their motivation and, as a result, to their performance. 

1. Worsens employee experience

In many cases, temporary employment contracts completely or partially prevent the employee from accessing training resources, social benefits, and participation in the processes that are available to permanent employees. If this is continued overtime for longer than required, the employee’s experience worsens and this will harm the company’s internal and external reputation. 

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2.Causes uncertainty and difficulty in planning

Sustained temporariness overtime ends up creating a situation of job insecurity for the employee that prevents them from planning important matters in their life or facing them without thinking they are doing something risky, which ends up becoming very stressful. Not having a minimum assurance as to whether their contract will be renewed, sometimes even up until the last minute, often prevents them from perceiving that they have a significant amount of control over their lives

3.Hinders productivity

When a person does not know whether they will continue tomorrow, or next week or next year as part of a given project, it is likely that their level of involvement or interest in a task will drop. This is because they don’t have the opportunity to project themselves by participating in the development of what they are currently doing and, therefore, they will feel less committed to what they are doing than they would if their situation in the company was more stable. The misuse of temporary employment affects mental health as it also causes a decline in productivity

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4.It’s frustrating and lowers self-esteem

When a person is young and has little experience, they can understandably assume that, due to their life cycle as an employee, they will have to work for a while with a few temporary contracts, at least at the beginning. However, for more experienced workers with more seniority, it can be very frustrating to see that their career may produce results for the company but does not lead to an improvement in their working conditions.

The uncertainty and lack of recognition associated with the consistent use of temporary employment contracts make it difficult to build a professional project that moves forward, blaming them on the weaknesses that make them seem less valuable as an employee, leading it to affect employees mental health.

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temporary employment affects mental health

5.Creates a feeling of helplessness

Being in a constant position of greater contractual vulnerability in comparison to other colleagues, it is difficult for an employee to feel empowered enough to make requests for improvement, suggestions, or petitions, even if they are reasonable and justified. So, with the fear of jeopardizing their future renewal, which is always pending approval, they tend to limit themselves, instead of actively participating in the life of the company or having control over the matters that affect them. 

Caring for psychological well-being in the company

Job insecurity caused by the misuse of temporary employment affects mental health seriously. 

To minimize its effects and accompany them in the process of functioning more efficiently, ifeel has an emotional well-being program for companies, designed by its team of expert psychologists. It aims to help companies put the care of the psychological well-being of their employees at the heart of their workplace culture and their strategy to strengthen productivity sustainably. Among other things, it is about using the contractual relationship between the employee and the company to build a working and professional relationship that results in the well-being of both

Through this collaboration, human resources managers can receive personalized, data-driven advice on the company’s key productivity risk factors.  

On the other hand, ifeel‘s emotional well-being program for companies provides employees with a mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs at any given time. This way, they can access different mental health care resources through ifeel‘s app. They can also receive emotional support through a chat with one of our licensed psychologists. If additional help is needed, they can access level three of the program: online psychological therapy with a psychologist specializing in the area the employee is struggling with. 

We hope you found this post about temporary employment interesting. If you would like more information about our emotional well-being program for companies, simply request it and we will contact your team as soon as possible.

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