Employers ‘failing to address staff stress’

Depressed businesswoman

Businesswoman holding her head in her hands

Stressed workers are suffering in silence and employers aren’t doing enough to tackle stress within the workplace, according to a survey by mental health charity Mind.

The survey found 45 per cent of workers polled by the charity said that staff are expected to cope without mentioning stress at work and a third (31 per cent) said that they would not be able to talk openly to their line manager if they felt stressed.

Mind has also found a huge difference in the perceptions of managers and other staff about how mental health is addressed in the workplace. Only 22 per cent of workers felt that their boss takes active steps to help them manage stress. However, many managers seem to think that they are doing enough to support staff with over two thirds (68 per cent) saying that they would find ways of helping staff who were stressed or experiencing a mental health problem.

Other key findings from the survey of over 2,000 workers include:

– 36 per cent believe that looking after staff mental wellbeing is an organisational priority.

– 42 per cent believe that in their workplace stress is regarded as a sign of weakness or that you can’t cope.

– Only a third (32 per cent) think time off for stress is treated as seriously as time off for physical illness.

– Nearly half (42 per cent) believe that time off for stress is seen as an ‘excuse’ for something else.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: ‘These figures show that stress remains the elephant in the room in many workplaces. It also highlights the worrying disparity between how managers and other members of staff view their organisation’s approach to mental wellbeing. It is vital that managers are equipped with the tools they need to be able to confidently and effectively support their staff, whether they are experiencing stress or mental health problems as a result of work or other factors.

‘There is a real danger that companies are neglecting workplace mental health, with huge implications for staff wellbeing; not to mention productivity, motivation and sickness absence. Employers depend on their staff and there are lots of small, inexpensive measures they can put in place to improve wellbeing and make a huge difference to all staff.’

Mind is inviting managers and HR professionals to sign up to their free webinars this autumn at www.mind.org.uk/work.


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