Reducing employee stress and anxiety is crucial to success - expert
19th April 2024
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Low engagement costs the global economy £6.9 billion, accounting for 9 per cent of global GDP according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report

Stress and anxiety not only pose significant challenges to individual well-being but also exert a profound impact on organisational productivity and success. As mental health awareness continues to rise, employers must redouble their efforts to create supportive workplaces that mitigate the adverse effects of stress and anxiety.

Recent data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) underscores the pervasive nature of stress-related issues in the UK workforce. According to the HSE's report on work-related stress, anxiety, or depression in Great Britain for 2022/23, these conditions accounted for a staggering 49 per cent of all work-related ill health cases.

Furthermore, stress, depression, or anxiety contributed to 54 per cent of all working days lost due to work-related ill health during the same period. These statistics highlight the significant toll that stress and anxiety take on both individual employees and the economy as a whole.

The financial ramifications of stress-related absenteeism and presenteeism are equally concerning. Research conducted by the Centre for Mental Health reveals that poor mental health among employees costs UK employers up to £45 billion annually. This substantial figure encompasses various factors, including absenteeism, presenteeism (employees working while unwell), and staff turnover, all of which are exacerbated by stress and anxiety in the workplace.

So, what can employers do to support their employees mental health and reduce the levels of stress and anxiety in the workplace?

There are three key questions you could ask:

1) Are you promoting a culture of open communication?  Encouraging open dialogue about mental health is crucial for creating a supportive work environment.  Employers can address this gap by providing mental health awareness training for managers and implementing regular check-ins to discuss employees' well-being. Additionally, establishing anonymous feedback mechanisms can empower employees to voice their concerns without fear of stigma or reprisal.

2) Are you able to offer flexible working arrangements?  Flexibility in work arrangements can significantly alleviate stress levels among employees.  Research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 87% of UK employees believe that flexible working opportunities would make a job more attractive to them. Employers can accommodate this preference by offering options such as remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks. By enabling employees to better balance their professional and personal responsibilities, employers can mitigate sources of stress and anxiety associated with rigid work structures.

3) Are you providing access to mental health support services?  Access to mental health support services is essential for employees facing stress or anxiety. According to Mind, a mental health charity in England and Wales, one in six workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. Employers can support these employees by offering resources such as employee assistance programs (EAPs), counselling services, and mental health workshops.

Fostering stress-free workplaces is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic investment for employers. 

Return On Investment (ROI) is a key consideration for all businesses and employee investment is no different.  Take a moment to download your FREE ROI Tips Employee Well-being Sheet.

Successful Customer Experience strategies are always underpinned by a positive Employee Experience strategy.  To gain more customers, retain more customers, and ultimately, grow your business, a culture of supporting employees must be a priority.


About the Author

Ian Henery

Member since: 4th February 2019

Presenter Black Country Radio & Black Country Xtra

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