Quarter of employees has taken leave for stress in the last year

Depressed businesswoman


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, according to the latest Britain at Work report from reputation management consultancy Lansons and insight agency Opinium.

The report also reveals that more than one in five employees surveyed said they do not receive any health or wellbeing benefits from their organisations. Less than half say their organisation is supportive of those with mental health problems and one in six (14%) claim their organisation is actively unsupportive in this area.

Scott McKenzie, Director of Lansons’ Change & Employee Engagement practice, says: “A quarter of people off because of stress is staggering, and that’s just in the last year. Not only does this affect the wellbeing of the employee and their families, but employers will eventually feel the impact both on business performance, and on other employees who need to pick up the workload. Employers have a duty of care to provide appropriate support to their employees in order to address these issues.”

The report also shows that three quarters of employees have been through a major organisational change at work in the last two years, the most common being an overhaul of IT systems and processes, changes to pay and pension terms (48%) and an organisational restructure (46%). Only half said they were kept well-informed of changes and challenges facing their organisation, and a fifth said communication regarding significant changes was ineffective.

Whilst 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 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. Lansons says 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.

Scott McKenzie says: “Change is an inevitable part of the modern workplace, and that’s certainly not a bad thing. However, it is crucial that it’s managed and communicated properly, or employees feel disengaged and undervalued. Management need to be able to inspire trust, particularly in periods of change. Employees who feel unsupported and disoriented by change, and are poorly led and managed, are unlikely to feel able or willing to improve their performance at work.”

For a full copy of the Lansons Britain at Work click to download here.

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