Stress Awareness Month: What are employers doing?
Research by Robert Half UK has found that nearly two thirds (63%) of UK employees experience stress in their jobs. Given this uncomfortably high figure, many organisations are introducing wellbeing initiatives to support the physical and mental health of employees at work.
What did the research find?
- Nearly half (48%) of businesses offer tools designed to promote wellbeing in the workplace
- One in seven businesses provide stress management seminars, training, or annual leave for personal and mental wellbeing
- Others include counselling (17%), leaving work early on Fridays (17%), and limiting the amount of overtime that employees can do (11%)
To promote healthy behaviours, UK employers are also turning to new measures that encourage physical wellbeing:
- Company bicycle or cycling schemes (20%)
- Subsidised gym membership (15%)
- Corporate sporting and fitness (10%)
- Tools such as fitbits or step counters, that encourage employees to move (9%)
"Looking after members of staff isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense."
“Starting a wellbeing programme may come at a cost but health and happiness go hand-in-hand,” explained Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK. “Creating a working environment that encourages good health fosters a more stable workforce. It also helps facilitate better team relationships, which in turn drives employee satisfaction, performance and morale.”
At a time when organisations are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers, UK businesses are also looking to create agile work environments that provide a better work experience and improve staff loyalty. Alongside introducing flexible working policies (17%), organisations are rethinking how the design of the workplace impacts health, wellbeing and productivity. Many are supporting their team with an employee assistance programme.
Why is it important?
“It’s important to remember that employees are an organisation’s most important asset,” Sheridan added. “Those companies that promote and protect workers’ health are building a culture dedicated to the overall wellbeing and happiness of employees. These businesses are likely to see higher levels of staff engagement and productivity, helping them become more successful and competitive in the long term.”
Stress Awareness Month, which takes place in April, aims to inform people across the country about the dangers of stress, correct misconceptions, and teach coping strategies that can help people both inside of work and out. Research by CALLCARE found that 45% of working days were lost due to stress-related illness and absenteeism.
Gemma Harding, Head of Corporate Services at CALLCARE, commented: “Stress is a common problem that affects employees across the UK, and it is up to managers to do whatever they can to help minimise the pressure, whether that’s taking work off employees’ hands or just creating a better working environment.
“But Stress Awareness Month is just one month out of 12; we believe that stress reduction tactics should be employed with the long term in mind. Looking after members of staff isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.
“Stress-related illnesses can cause long term absences, lower levels of employee engagement and increased chances that staff will leave; all of which are detrimental to a business looking to grow.”
For further advice on how to support your employees during stress awareness month (and beyond), see our employee wellness brochure.