With the world’s economy in the doldrums, businesses and the people who work in them are feeling the pinch and suffering more and more from stress. The Best You’s Wellbeing In The Workplace Survey finds out the attitudes of those at the sharp end.
The effects of stress at work are very real – and it’s not just a matter of “taking a sickie” for the afternoon. In the US last year, it was estimated that stress cost the economy $300 billion a year.
Meanwhile, in the UK,13.4 million days were lost to stress anxiety or depression, with 265,000 new cases of stress reported in the workplace.
It’s a major problem – for the individual concerned and for businesses too. Real expertise can be lost from the workplace due to stress, while more stress is created as other members of the team fill in for the employee taking time off. That’s why the great manager at any size of business will not only concentrate on the bottom line, but also ensure they are doing the very best for their workforce.
The Best you’s Wellbeing in the Workplace polled attitudes in the workplace – finding out what workers want and need to bet beyond stress to wellbeing.
People were polled across the UK from all regions and sectors, with a representative spread across the demographic. It was interesting to note that the percentages of men to women who answered were about even, with roughly the same levels of concerns and ideas for solutions being shown by both sexes.
There was a noted difference in attitudes by age. Those below 24 had a higher level of happiness at work, as did those above 55. Interestingly, these same two groups also reported higher levels of stress at work.
This perhaps shows that some stress is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps you to focus the mind and get a sense of achievement when completing a task.
But too much stress is a real issue, and finding ways to support employees really allows a business to flourish.
The survey showed that happiness at work is most definitely feeling the pinch, with over 70% of those polled saying they are either not entirely happy or not happy at all in the workplace.
Attitudes of employers to stress were also revealed with over 54% reporting their job comes with a level of stress that affects their work, while only 11% said their company provides good support to help them with mental health and wellbeing.
Stress and unhappiness can take many different forms, with concerns about workload, work/life balance, relationships and job security all being cited.
With such worries often filling people’s working days, it is clear that the good manager must alleviate at least some of those worries. So, what can be done?
Around 25% of respondents said there is regular monitoring of well-being in the workplace and nearly 37% said their business provides counselling and mental health help.
However, only 13.5% said they were given literature, including magazines and other reading material to help them help themselves. 41% thought that regular monitoring of well-being in the work place would be helpful, with counselling, advice and support also polling high.
Working with motivation was a further issue. Nearly 70% agreed that they would work better and feel more motivated if there were more support for wellbeing in the workplace, with nearly 35% of respondents saying that seminars, magazines and other support would “benefi t them a lot”.
For the employer, it’s really vital to ask: do you have a happy workforce? If not, then teaching them skills to get over emotional problems, skills to encourage better group dynamics and an environment in which they feel secure will certainly help everyone to stay focussed on the prize.
And remember, the prize is more than survival. In the current environment, it’s about growing, going for goals and expanding. That in the end will complete the virtuous circle and make everyone happy!