48% feel stressed at work

Nearly half (48%) of respondents feel stressed at work two to three or more times a week, according to research by Axa PPP Healthcare.

The Axa PPP Healthcare Workplace wellbeing survey, which surveyed 500 small and medium-sized employers (SMEs) and 500 employees, found that two-thirds (63%) of employer respondents do not provide training for managers to look out for signs of stress, anxiety or depression among employees.

The research also found that more than half (55%) of employer respondents do not actively monitor employee stress levels and 73% do not have initiatives in place to support good mental health in the workplace.

The list of stressful worries among employee respondents includes money (34%), work (31%) and family issues (18%).

The research also found that micro-businesses with up to 10 staff have on average 5.2 sick days per employee per year, while organisations with between 100 and 250 employees report 6.8 days absence per employee per year.

The research estimates that the financial impact of sick leave for micro-businesses is £3,500 a year, rising to £40,500 per year for organisations with between 100 and 250 employees.

In addition:

  • 60% of employer respondents do not believe their employees when they call in sick.
  • 37% of employer respondents check the social media profiles of staff they suspect of ‘pulling a sickie’.
  • 46% of employee respondents feel nervous about calling their boss, even when they are genuinely ill.

Chris Jessop, managing director of health services at Axa PPP Healthcare, said: “The findings show that smaller-sized organisations are more effective at managing sickness absence.

“This may be down to better communication and trust between bosses and employees that can come from working closely together. Larger-sized organisations could learn a lot from their smaller counterparts when it comes to employer–employee relationships.

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“Larger-sized SMEs need to take a more active role in managing employee health and wellbeing. Providing access to confidential counselling, for example, can help employees to deal more effectively with the pressures in their lives, and help prevent them from spiralling into mental health problems.

“Measures such as this can have a big effect on making employees feel valued and, in turn, boost performance and productivity.”