A recent poll has found that almost all GPs have seen a number of patients seeking help for work-related stress since the start of the pandemic.
What is happening?
252 GPs partook in the poll from Perkbox, with 92% saying they had seen more patients seeking medical advice about work-related stress and anxiety, with 68% reporting an increase in the last three months. The survey also found that 80% of GPs agreed that the worst was yet to come, and it is expected that demand will increase further.
The poll found that GPs have seen the highest increase amongst 16-24 year olds. Two-thirds of GPs seeing an increase from this age group in addition to a 54% increase in 25-34 year olds and a 43% rise in 34-49 year olds.
Employers are being urged to take greater responsibility for the support of their employees as these experiences can have a significant impact on the employee’s life. In addition to GPs, Perkbox also surveyed 200 UK employees and found that the top three aspects of employee’s life being affected by work-related stress and anxiety were:
- Sleep (54%)
- Diet (51%)
- Increased alcohol consumption (32%)
What has caused the increase?
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at the University of Manchester and the president of the CIPD discussed the findings, “even pre-pandemic, stress, anxiety and depression were responsible for over half of long term sickness absences and the pandemic has obviously exacerbated this trend.
Cooper believes that a leading factor behind the increase is the fact the pandemic has made people worried about their jobs and financial security, the risk of covid-19 is still high when returning to the workplace and there is a potential that a number of people will have higher workloads than pre-pandemic times due to workplace downsizing.
This is agreed upon within the research, with the top three most reported causes of work-related stress and anxiety were financial security (45%) returning to the workplace (43%) and increasing workloads (39%) with nearly three-quarters (73%) of employees siting ineffective employer wellbeing strategies when reporting workplace stress.
How to combat Work-related stress and anxiety
Cooper emphasized the worrying nature of the increasing trend but has highlighted the importance of this trend in alerting employers and governments. Cooper said “The mental wellbeing of employees should be a strategic issue for all employers”.
The general consensus of GPs polled reported that 39% of patents that were seeking help for work-related stress and anxiety had been signed off work, which was described as a “huge hit to productivity”
When asked what could be a solution to the problem, two-fifths (42%) of GPs emphasized the provision of flexible working would be an important way to combat work-related stress and anxiety. Whilst a similar number (37%) called for managers to be provided with training on supporting mental health and wellbeing, while 30% said employers should be provided with wellbeing tools and information.
How can we help?
OneHR can allow your employees to quickly and easily book the time off they need, when they need. Using our leave an absence calendar, employees can request a date they want to take as leave and the request will be pushed to their manager to ensure the request is dealt with quickly.
In addition to this, employers can use this calendar to see who has been absent and for what reason, this means that an employer can keep track of who is taking large amounts of time off sick and arrange meetings with them to offer the support they may need.
If you have any further questions or queries about the content above or would like to request a demo for oneHR, please don’t hesitate to contact the oneHR team today.
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