Repeatedly studies and research confirm that workplace stress is a very big deal. The Due North Inquiry commissioned by Public Health England tells us that every two minutes, one person is made ill through stress at work in this country. In October 2017 the Thriving at Work study found that 15% of the UK workforce lives with a mental health condition and many are ‘struggling at work’. It recommended a comprehensive series of measures that organisations need to put in place to support staff wellbeing.
The Mental Health Foundation claims that work-related stress, depression and anxiety are the leading causes of sickness absence from work. Likewise, health and safety representatives report that stress is their number one health and safety concern in the workplace.
As a result, the TUC are taking stress very seriously. They are reminding employers that they are bound by a legal responsibility to tackle anything at work that could cause illness – and that includes workplace stress.
What Does Stress Cost?
The financial cost of stress is staggering. It amounts to an estimated £13 billion in sickness pay and lost productivity, with a further £12 billion in public service spending and carers’ time. (Figs from the UK Faculty of Public Health.)
According to a Guardian Jobs’ survey conducted earlier this year, 43% of the UK workforce experience work related stress to some degree more than half of the time. Of those surveyed, 30% say that their productivity has suffered as a result of workplace stress. Furthermore, one person in four believes that stress has held them back in their career. And a worrying 59% of the UK workforce claims stress has negatively affected their home life and relationships.
The Benefits of Happiness
On the flip side, there are equally numerous studies confirming the Freedom from Stress view, that it is possible to manage and transform stress. Not only that, but lowering stress levels is good for business.
Research conducted by Forbes and the Harvard Business Review asserts that happy employees are around a third more creative and productive than unhappy employees.
A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick also found that happiness has a significant impact on productivity. They report that positive emotions are invigorating and that financial incentives alone aren’t enough to make for highly productive employees.
This confirms the view of the CIPD who found in its spring 2016 employee outlook, that the majority of employees simply want to be valued, appreciated and rewarded.
Professor Andrew Oswald, one of three researchers who led the University of Warwick study, said that companies that invest in employee support and satisfaction tend to succeed in generating happier workers. At Google, employee satisfaction rose 37% after implementing positive changes.
And additional research has shown that when workers are happy, they are better at collaborating, working towards shared goals.
It seems indisputable that studies and research confirm that workplace stress is a very big deal, and the incentive for organisations is very clear: Enhance workplace wellbeing as happy employees perform better and create a healthier bottom line.
Contact Freedom from Stress Now to make positive change: