16 May 2011 #Employment
Research by mental health charity, Mind published yesterday confirms that over 40% of employees are currently "stressed" or "very stressed" by their job. 70% of those surveyed felt that their boss would do nothing to help them alleviate their workplace stress.
One fifth of respondents believed that if they mentioned their stress levels to their employer they would be selected for redundancy and the results of the survey showed that such fears were not unfounded; with 22% of respondents who said they had disclosed a mental health issue to their employer said that they had been sacked or forced to resign.
Almost half of respondents (46%) said that time off for stress was viewed by their employer as an `excuse` for something else.
The charity surveyed 2,000 employees as part of its Taking Care of Business Campaign which aims to transform the way employers deal with mental health issues.
Speaking after the results of the survey were published, Mind`s Chief Executive, Paul Farmer, said:
"The negativity that persists around stress and mental health problems is unacceptable in a modern workforce. Pressure and stress may be part of our working lives, but failing to recognise that everyone has a limit is a mistake that costs businesses billions of pounds a year. Stigma is so great employees worry that even mentioning stress will lose them their jobs. Mental health problems exist in every workforce, but at the moment it exists as a costly and unaddressed elephant in the room.
"Making your workplace more mentally healthy doesn`t need to cost the earth. Simple, practical changes can have big results such as making sure your staff take proper breaks or giving them the chance to talk about work pressures. Some businesses are already seeing this approach pay off, reducing sickness absence, cutting costs and being rewarded with a productive and committed workforce. It`s time for all employers to change their attitudes towards mental health problems at work."
Mind is calling for employers to take low cost, simple, practical steps to improve workers` stress levels, such as ensuring they take regular breaks and giving them the opportunity to discuss their job pressures.