Positive workplace health and wellbeing is crucial to our daily lives. Effective business owners, HR and management professionals know that in order to run a successful business, they must continually evaluate and strategize around how to create and maintain a healthy workplace for their employees.
So, what is research telling us about workplace wellbeing in the UK? In this guide, we take a look at the latest workplace wellbeing statistics in the UK, what they mean for businesses and how companies can use them to improve workplace wellbeing strategies.
What is Workplace Wellbeing?
Workplace wellbeing is about creating a healthy and supportive environment for employees. It’s about promoting positive mental health and helping employees to manage stress effectively.
A good workplace wellbeing strategy will consider all aspects of an employee’s health, including physical, mental and emotional health. It should also take into account the different needs of employees at different stages of their lives or job roles.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests workplace wellbeing can have a positive impact on business performance, supporting the idea that building a culture of health and safety provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
More study results produced a significant, strong positive correlation between employees’ satisfaction with their company and employee productivity and customer loyalty, and a strong negative correlation with staff turnover. Ultimately, better workplace wellbeing is positively correlated with business profitability.
Workplace Stress UK 2022/2023
Lots of factors affect our stress levels. From relationship stress to money worries, or even just the lack of a good night’s sleep, people stress over lots of different things. However, one main cause of stress in British adults is workplace stress.
Work-related stress can have a significant impact on an individual. One 2022 survey revealed that 67% of professionals are experiencing stress at moderate to high levels and that almost 35% of employees report the stress they experience at work is having a negative impact on them.
But how can we help employees stop feeling stressed in their working lives? How can we help them recognise the signs of stress or poor mental health and talk about them at work?
There are a number of ways businesses can support employees with their stress management:
- Encourage regular check-ins: Regular catch-ups with line managers can help employees identify any areas of stress and address them early on. Data reveals that nearly half (48%) of employees received no wellbeing check-in last year according to this report. So now is the time for businesses to start encouraging these catch-ups.
- Promote healthy lifestyle choices: Eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep are all important for managing stress levels. Businesses can support employees by providing healthy food options, encouraging them to take regular breaks and providing tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.
- Encourage socialisation: Spending time with friends and family can help reduce stress levels. Businesses can encourage employees to take their lunch break away from their desks, or organise social events outside work hours.
Employee Mental Health Issues
It’s important that employers adequately support employees living with mental health issues. Although workplace mental wellbeing is still a hot topic, evidence suggests that some employees are still struggling. According to reports by the Mental Health Foundation:
- 1 in 6.8 people (14.7%) experience mental-ill health in the workplace.
- Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely (19.8% vs 10.9%) to have a common mental health issue as full-time employed men.
Data by Champion Health further reveals that nearly 60% of employees feel anxious and just over half experience a low mood. They go on to report that 58% of employees said they had experienced at least mild symptoms of depression, with over 1 in 4 (26%) reporting symptoms that were moderate to severe.
Poor mental health is also cited as a factor that impacts productivity for 1 in 5 employees, contributing to costly levels of presenteeism on both a personal and business level.
Employee Wellbeing Investment
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a vital part of occupational health is concerned with how the working environment can impact a worker’s mental and physical health. As part of their role, the HSE recommends that businesses make a proactive investment in employee wellbeing initiatives and strategies.
And investment in employee wellbeing doesn’t just offer employee benefits. According to a Gallup study in 2019, if employees had better wellbeing in the first year of their job, they would tend to have a better engagement at work in year two. This shows that there is a direct correlation between employee wellbeing and engagement, which in turn can lead to improved business outcomes.
Mind backs up this point, and goes on to tell us that 60% of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.
Further Deloitte research reports that for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover, highlighting the business case for investment in employee wellbeing.
Management Training Investments
Training line managers can be one of the most effective investments, as studies report that with even three hours of mental health awareness training they have seen improved attitudes about mental health and a higher motivation to promote mental health at work. When managers are trained to encourage staff and help them take care of themselves, it can have a huge impact on job satisfaction and therefore, results.
With this, evidence that only 31% of respondents say they feel they have been sufficiently trained to recognise the signs of poor mental health in their direct reports becomes a problem.
Why? Because if businesses are to get the most out of their employee wellbeing strategy, they need to ensure that line managers are given the training and support they need to effectively manage and promote workplace wellbeing.
Failure to do so could result in a lack of progress being made on employees’ mental health, as well as engagement and productivity levels.
Poor workplace wellbeing can also have a significant impact on employee sickness absence. Many employees experience stress as a result of work, one survey revealed, as 79% of the 1,501 employees reported work-related stress in the month before the survey.
This stress, and the mental health issues that unsupported chronic stress can cause, are clearly linked to sickness absences within businesses, with 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK attributed to mental health conditions.
Costs associated with these absences can quickly mount up for businesses. However, better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year in saved sick days. With better workplace health and wellbeing, employees can take fewer sick days, and when they are off work, they can recover more quickly and return to full productivity.
In a bid to reduce stress and sickness absences, some businesses are starting to reassess their approach to working hours. In fact, more than 80% of people in the UK would prefer a four- day working week, according to Reed’s 2021 survey, which goes on to state improved morale and fewer absences as one of the benefits of a shorter working week.
A shorter working week can also have a positive impact on an employee’s work-life balance, helping to reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s no surprise then that employees who feel they have a good work-life balance are more productive, more engaged, and less likely to leave their job.
Looking To Invest in Your Workplace Wellbeing This Year?
At Great Minds At Work, we offer a range of Business Mental Health Training Courses, designed to help businesses improve their workplace wellbeing. Our courses can be tailored to meet your specific business needs and can be delivered either in-person or online.
Whether it’s company-wide Mental Health Awareness Training, allocating specific Mental Health Champions within your team or arming your leadership team with full Mental Health First Aid Training, we can help you create a happier, healthier workplace.