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Are your employees facing a stress time bomb?

Are your employees facing a stress time bomb? | Insurance Business

Are your employees facing a stress time bomb?
Keeping a watchful eye on your employees’ mental health appears to be more important than ever after new statistics were released revealing that 25% of employees in the UK have taken time off for stress in the last year alone.

The report, entitled Breaking the Cycle, published by health insurance firm BHSF, warns that stress-related issues are having a major impact on workplace productivity and that more than half of employees feel unable to approach their employer about their problems. Specifically it highlights how a potent combination of professional and personal stress triggers are leading to significant mental health and absenteeism issues, with finances (31%), job stresses (26%) and family life (19%) being the greatest contributors to absenteeism.

“This report paints a devastating portrait of how professional and personal stress-triggers are directly leading to mental health issues and absenteeism on an unprecedented scale, which is, unfortunately, being chronically under-estimated by employers and is a potential time-bomb under workplace productivity,” commented Brian Hall, managing director of BHSF Employee Benefits.

“Employees and their employers are caught in a vicious cycle, which begins with a gradual build-up of stress, both inside and outside work, leading on to job performance issues, absenteeism and ultimately long-term sick leave.”

The report highlights how productivity is being impacted when employees go into work, despite suffering from illness or mental health issues – this is otherwise referred to as ‘presenteeism’. In fact, nearly two thirds (63%) of the UK’s working population say that stress keeps them awake at night, leaving them physically and mentally unable to perform their duties.

What’s more, 58% have admitted going into work despite suffering from health or stress issues and over half of the working population admit that they feel pressure from their employer to quickly return to work in the event of illness.

However, the findings also demonstrate that the stigma of stress or mental health issues is still very much alive within the workplace with 53% of respondents admitting that they would not approach their employer with a mental health issue while only 17% of workers benefit from employer mental health initiatives.

“The continuing reluctance to approach employers with stress or mental health issues is hiding the true scale of the problem,” added Hall. “Many of the issues that contribute to stress are outside an employer’s direct control, but those issues are clearly having an impact on productivity and employee performance.”

Hall has called on employers to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting their employees and to be more proactive in their approach to employee well-being.

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