Stress levels at work have grown, while productivity fell, but there is some good news

Stress and anxiety treatments have doubled over a decade, while 44 percent of workers say the world around them has become more stressful and complex. In the ten years since Bupa launched its first Wellbeing Report; people are working an extra 15.4 million hours every week, but productivity remaining low. However, on a more positive note, more employees than ever are prepared to talk about mental health issues with their employer. The research, which coincides with the launch of the Bupa Wellbeing Edit – a report into the key themes in workplace wellbeing, which includes insights from business and wellbeing experts, shows the number of people receiving mental health treatments has increased by 53 per cent in the last decade. Treatment for stress and anxiety have more than doubled over the last 10 years, which now stand at just under 70,000. However, although working longer hours has contributed to higher stress levels, the analysis based on businesses of all sizes, suggests that employers’ openness towards mental health is also increasing levels of self-reporting.

More than one in three (35 percent) workers from Bupa’s research feel more comfortable talking to their line manager about their mental health than they would have done in the past, and (36 percent) say workplace attitudes towards mental illness have improved.  In addition, 30 per cent say that mental health conditions are far less of a taboo now than 10 years ago, suggesting a positive culture change.

Patrick Watt, Corporate Director for Bupa UK, says: “The data and research illustrates the progress businesses have made, whilst highlighting that we still have more to do. In recent years many high profile business leaders have openly discussed their mental health challenges which has helped reframe how we talk about mental health in the workplace and create a more open culture. At the same time, UK businesses now recognise that to be able to increase engagement it is just as important to ensure that their people are mentally, as well as physically fit.

“The diversity of the modern workforce means there is no silver bullet. The Wellbeing Edit aims to encourage businesses to ensure holistic wellbeing remains a boardroom by creating a workplace culture that drives a healthy workforce and a healthy business.”

It is clear that employers are investing in education and training, with around half (47 percent) of line managers saying that they have received formal training on how to manage team members’ mental health issues. There is more to be done with 27 per cent saying that they worry that discussing mental health issues in the workplace as it may affect their career prospects and almost a third are unsure whether their employer has any provision for health and wellbeing.

The Bupa Wellbeing Edit provides examples of workplace wellbeing best practice from a wide range of industries which aim to help businesses throughout the UK evolve their strategies and further engage their people.

Patrick Watt continues: “In our experience, and as demonstrated in the Wellbeing Edit, the wellbeing strategies that succeed are designed to meet the needs of their employees rather than generic goals. Businesses that adopt a tailored approach are more likely to engage their people using technology to achieve this impact. The first step to creating a long-term wellbeing strategy starts with understanding what is important to employees to unlock the potential in all of their people and redresses the gap in engagement.”

Click on the link to download a copy of Bupa’s Wellbeing Edit

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