The majority of employees in the UK went back to work just after the turn of the New Year, and it is highly probable that after stepping back into the office that all the feelings of stress and anxiety that they left behind before Christmas are emerging once more.
The Health and Safety Executive conducted some new research in which it found that approximately 600,000 employees suffered from anxiety, work related stress or depression in the last year. These figures resulted in 15.4 million lost working days and also wealth of lost productivity.
The research conducted was based on 1,247 employees working in the UK and the findings showed that the biggest cause for work related stress was due to excessive workload, accounting for 84% of employee issues. Excessive workload leads to stress as many feel as if they cannot perform the task to a suitable standard given the timeframe and current job requirements.
A further finding in the research was that 79% stated that unrealistic expectations and a need to impress as the second biggest reason for stress. Adding to the problem a further 72% stated that a bad work-life balance effected their mental health.
In the survey, the findings were mixed from ongoing issues but also issues employees had experienced in previous job roles. The main past problems were relating to company culture. The survey also highlighted different causes of stress that may hinder employees in future. 63% said that a lack of career development and progression was a reason for workplace stress, whilst a further 42% stated that a negative company culture can cause workplace stress. Adding to this, research conducted by Boundless discovered that 47% of Brits stated that they were either ‘stressed’ or ‘very stressed’ which could have a detrimental effect on an offices productivity.
Director of Boundless, Ian Holmes-Lewis, said that employers should help with releasing some of the stress and also be better equipped at managing these situations. Some of the ways that he suggested employers could help employees with their mental health is through the use of staff activities, encouraging staff to have hobbies and also introduce flexible working patterns as this is seen as a tool to help with work-life balance.
According to a recent survey, these are the three best ways that employers can help reduce stress in their employees work lives:
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