Employers not tackling workplace stress

According to statistics released in October from the mental health charity, Mind, employers aren’t doing enough to tackle stress, and stressed workers are suffering in silence.

Out of over 2,000 workers polled in the suvery, 45% said that staff are expected to cope without mentioning stress at work and 31% said that they would not be able to talk openly to their line manager if they felt stressed.

The survey also found a huge difference in the perceptions of managers and other staff about how mental health is addressed in the workplace – only 22% of workers felt that their boss would take active steps to help them manage stress, whilst 68% of managers said they would find ways of helping staff who were stressed, or experiencing mental health problems.

Chief executive of Mind, Paul Farmer, 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 measure they can put in place to improve wellbeing and make a huge difference to all staff.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • 36% of workers believe that looking after staff mental wellbeing is an organisational priority
  • 42% believe that in their workplaces, stress is regarded as a sign of weakness or that you can’t cope
  • A third (32%) think time off for stress is treated as seriously as time off for physical illness, and
  • Nearly half (42%) believe that time off for stress is seen as an excuse for something else