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Stress in the workplace

By Chris Hickey


Recently, I have visited a number of organisations to discuss their Healthcare insurances and when I raise the topic of Mental Health, the response is often along the lines of “we’re all mad here!” It always draws a little smile but there is a serious side to the stresses of work and home life and it is a subject that many employers choose to ignore or don’t fully understand.

Statistics demonstrate work absence from stress is the largest single factor for sick days, accounting for 40% of all work-related ill health cases and 49% of days lost due to ill health in 2016/17 in the UK. Put into perspective, this represented 12.5 million working days lost in 2016/17.

Stiff upper lip

Close to a third of UK workers say they are not able to talk openly with their line manager about their stress and only 49% of those that have been diagnosed had told their employer.
After being diagnosed, 40% of individuals admitted that they wouldn’t speak about it to their colleagues because they don’t want to be treated differently. The stigma surrounding mental health means that employers have typically neglected to address it and still struggle to see mental health in the same way they see physical health.
Developing a workplace culture, which changes attitudes and prioritises the mental wellbeing of staff, may seem burdensome to employers who need to get the day job done and remain efficient. However, in the rapidly fluctuating and competitive global economy, healthy and productive employees are crucial to an organisation’s success.

Addressing the issue

It’s vital that open lines of communication are created, developing a greater understanding of the symptoms, causes and treatments of mental illness.
Following the recent pledge by Prime Minister Theresa May to transform support for mental health in the workplace with an extensive new review, there is a nationwide drive to encourage employers to lead the way and promote and facilitate healthier lifestyles.

4 easy steps to follow

  • Consider whether any mental health stigma exists within your workplace and question why.
  • Train Line Managers and Senior Management so they are comfortable to talk openly about the subject.
  • Improve the awareness of the issues; conduct staff surveys, launch awareness campaigns and champion non-judgemental attitudes.
  • Utilise existing or introduce a Private Medical Policy, Health Cash Plan and/ or Employee Assistance

Programmes to offer a number of wellbeing benefits to your staff. This includes counselling, debt management, legal advice and  information on eldercare or emotional and work-life issues.

To discuss how Sutton Winson can help your employees contact Chris at

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Category: Employee Benefits & Healthcare

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