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1 in 4 UK employees absent due to work-induced stress

Brits are stressed for 5 and a half years of their lives

Across the UK, workers are suffering from stress brought about by their jobs and this in turn is leading to increased sick days, according to the latest Britain at Work report from reputation management consultancy Lansons and insight agency Opinium.

Employee wellbeing is of course important in its own right and employers know that it can be a crucial determinant of their productivity and success. However, the 2016 report, a study of the modern UK workplace, shows that around a quarter of UK employees, equivalent to six million people, have taken time off work in the last 12 months due to stress brought about as a consequence of doing their job.

In addition to this, the report reveals that more than one in five (21%) employees surveyed said they do not receive any health or wellbeing benefits from their organisations, representing a real risk of knock-on effects to wider society as people require mental and physical support from state-funded sources. Less than half (45%) say their organisation is supportive of those with mental health problems (a scant improvement from 44% last year) and one in six (14%) claim their organisation is actively unsupportive in this area.

Organisations in flux
The report also found organisational change is a constant in an increasing number of employees’ lives – three quarters (76%) have been through at least one significant change in the last two years – that’s more than 20 million employees across the country. The most common changes reported (by 48%) were an overhaul of IT systems and processes, changes to pay and pension terms (48%) and an organisational restructure (46%).

Many do not feel they are sufficiently supported through what can be very difficult periods – only half (51%) said they were kept well-informed of changes and challenges facing their organisation and a fifth (20%) said communication regarding significant changes was ineffective.

These statistics are perhaps explained by a lack of management skills and training that have been uncovered by the report. While 92% of those in management roles said they have the necessary skills and knowledge to manage people effectively, 39% of the group say they haven’t received any form of management training, and only half (53%) were assessed on their people management skills before being appointed to their role. Against this, 34% of employees say they need more support from their manager. The gap in managers’ perception of their own ability and the reality goes some way to explaining why only half (49%) say they trust what senior leaders in their company say.