Two recent surveys have highlighted the extent of stress in the workplace. The research found more than two-thirds of employers have seen an increase in reported instances of stress and mental health-related illnesses, whilst over a quarter of employees go into work when they are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression.
However, there was a marked growth in corporate wellbeing programmes last year, with most employers considering themselves responsible for influencing their employees’ health behaviours. The number of organisations with designated funding for their health and wellbeing programmes has also increased, with many having a specific budget in place. This has contributed to more employers offering health programmes, for instance to encourage weight loss, and to help people stop smoking or get more exercise.
More organisations are also embracing technology as part of their strategies, with considerable growth seen for health apps and virtual GP services. This trend is expected to gain pace in 2018, as employee engagement strategies embrace technology.
Despite the good news, one worrying finding was that many employees still go into work when they are ill. Reasons given by employees for going to work when ill include:
Whatever the reason, a doctor’s advice to stay at home is often ignored. This can be counterproductive, because early diagnosis and treatment improve the chance of a faster recovery, avoiding long-term absences from work. Wellbeing should be a cornerstone of any workplace health policy and promoting the importance of listening to medical advice is a key part of that.