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Workplace stress piles on the pounds for employees

Workplace stress piles on the pounds for employees

More than one in four (27%) employees have put on weight in the past year as they struggle to cope with workplace stress, research from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

The study shows how millions are self-medicating in order to help them cope. 34% say they are turning to comfort eating to alleviate the demands of work, while 23% admit they have turned to alcohol to help. The impact is not just felt by the individual – 29% of employees questioned say they are arguing more with family as a result of workplace stress.

MetLife Employee Benefits has launched a report, Building Resilience in the Workplace, outlining the scale of the issue and explaining how a focus on organisational resilience awareness and training can help employees overcome negative feelings and deal more effectively with stressful situations. The report includes a foreword by leading expert Dr Brian Marien of Positive Group, who writes: “The growing recognition that resilience training and strategies have a positive role to play in the workplace is a welcome development but we need to turn up the volume on the message so that more organisations can learn about the genuine business benefits on offer.”

The report shows that not all stress is bad: 23% of employees have exercised more to beat stress, while 20% are opting to eat more healthily and 7% have cut back on alcohol.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director of MetLife UK, says: “Stress has been described as ‘the health epidemic of the 21st century’ but there is less awareness on how tackling stress and wellness at work can prevent it becoming a problem in the first place.

“Prevention is clearly better than cure but it is more easily said than done. Helping employees to build resilience is a major way for employers to tackle the problem and managers have a major role to play.

“Organisations that do not invest in improving resilience run the risk of having to invest heavily in recruitment as employees are likely to seek other employment if nothing is done to help them cope.”