Two-thirds of UK employees say workplace anxiety has increased on return to office, study finds
Research also shows more than half of workers have experienced a panic attack at work, as experts dub the data ‘deeply concerning’
More than two thirds (69 per cent) of UK workers have noted an increase in workplace anxiety among colleagues on the return to the office post lockdown, a new study has found.
The Showpad research – a global leader in sales enablement automation- – surveyed 1,001 UK office workers and found that feelings of stress, nervousness and unease had risen since employees returned to the workplace.
The top cited reasons for were:
- People’s mental health has declined in general since lockdown (50 per cent)
- People have become used to not being ‘on show’ in the office and not having to present or attend meetings in real life, and are finding it hard to readjust (37 per cent)
- Redundancies during lockdown or the business not doing so well has increased tensions in the office (36 per cent)
With eight in ten UK workers having suffered from workplace anxiety at some point during their working life, Kelli Koschmann, chief people officer at Showpad, said the data showed “a hidden crisis” that businesses needed to respond to by creating open cultures and delivering training.
She recommended fostering open dialogue around mental health and line manager training, so these contact points could lead the conversation with affected team members. “Creating a culture of inclusivity [around mental health] needs to start from the top down,” Koschmann added. This was echoed by Darren Sutherland Chairman of the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) at the recent launch of the IADC White Paper – Changing Minds: saving lives
According to the Showpad research, almost half (47 per cent) of workers have called in sick because of anxiety in the past year, for an average of nearly five days.
“A little bit of understanding and empathy from leaders can go a long way in building more supportive work environments and, aside from the business impact, HR professionals need to consider the impact this is having on employee wellbeing,” Koschmann said.
Half of employees in the survey had experienced a panic attack
In addition, more than half (54 per cent) of UK workers experienced a panic attack because of their work since the pandemic, and seven in ten (69 per cent) stated they were less used to being on show when returning to the office after being away for so long.
Stress and anxiety have been caused by the pandemic, Brexit, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, and we can’t rest on our laurels saying we’ve done our bit because we’ve got mental health champions or something similar. We’ve got to increase the momentum of support being offered and we need to move to a far more proactive approach.
Showpad’s data found that three-quarters (76 per cent) of office workers who had taken time off work in the past year because of anxiety or mental health-related issues did not tell their employer this was the reason. A third (32 per cent) of survey respondents thought their employer would judge them or count it against them if they explained why they were taking time off. It’s critical that we provide employees with an independent, confidential and safe space to open up about their challenges. Exactly the service offered by P3 Business Care
For Dr Jeanette Cook, principal strategic consultant at Aon, HR and leaders should be aware of the long-term business and people impact of failing to create a culture where employees can be transparent regarding their mental health. “If left unchecked, the situation can create disharmony in the workplace, resulting in broken working relationships and workplace grievances.
“As such, we need to do better in being able to recognise the symptoms of workplace anxiety, being empathic and compassionate colleagues and leaders, and providing early and effective support.”
P3 Business Care do exactly that! We provide male and female Business Partners who visit our client sites usually twice a week. We develop trust and relationships with employees that creates an atmosphere where they feel comfortable to open up about a whole myriad of topics both work and life-related. We can then proactively address the challenges and get them the help that they so desperately need.
About P3 Business Care
P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Supporting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive care to your employees and immediate family working in partnership with the company. Our Business Partners visit your business weekly developing trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become crisis, absence, or staff turnover. Read more about our services here