Disengagement linked to high stress levels

EXCLUSIVE: Just over half (57%) of respondents who reported high levels of stress at work said they were disengaged, while 8% said they were highly disengaged, according to research by Towers Watson.


Its 2013/14 Global benefits attitudes survey: developing a culture of health and wellbeing – UK results questioned 2,030 UK employees.

One in ten (10%) respondents who reported low levels of workplace stress said they were disengaged, while 49% said they were highly engaged.

Meanwhile, two-thirds (63%) of respondents said their stress levels at work are usually manageable, while 34% said they are often bothered by excessive pressure in their job.

Only 4% of respondents use services, such as a counselling helpline or an employee assistance programme, provided by their employer to cope with stress.

More than a third (37%) seek support from friends, family or colleagues, while 30% work harder to try to overcome the source of stress and 7% seek professional help.

The research also found:

  • 33% of respondents felt managers in their workplace are actively encouraged to support the health and wellbeing of employees who report to them.
  • 31% of respondents felt their immediate manager gives them the time or flexibility to enable them to have a healthier lifestyle.
  • 25% of respondents felt that senior leaders visibly support a healthy work environment.

Rebekah Haymes (pictured), senior consultant at Towers Watson, said: “Employee health and wellbeing is not just a health ‘problem’, it also relates to broader issues of employee engagement.

“Our research shows the differing perspectives on health and wellbeing between employers and employees that need to be considered to promote engagement.

“Employers need to think strategically to make sure their health and wellbeing programme is attractive to an employee population, while also measuring outcomes to ensure it continues to evolve and improve.

“Segmented activities, promotion and employee communications can make a programme relevant for different demographics of a population.

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“We have also found that employees are receptive to their employer taking an encouraging role in the promotion of health and wellbeing.

“We are seeing clear examples in the data, and with [employer] clients, that senior leadership support for health and wellbeing is paying real dividends in employee participation and overall engagement levels.”