Businesses aren’t doing enough to combat employee stress, Perkbox study reveals

Most adults in employment consider work to be the most common cause of stress (say 59% of them), but only 45% of British businesses don’t offer anything to help alleviate this, according to a study of 3,000 UK workers carried out by Perkbox in its 2018 UK Workplace Stress Report.

The study found that 25% of workers struggle to be as productive at work when stress, and a similar amount find themselves disengaged with work as a result. In fact, at least one in 10 people will call in sick due to stress while 7% will look for a new job.

Businesses in the hospitality industry are the least likely to provide any kind of guidance to help employees deal with stress, according to 64% of its workers. The leisure sector follows closely, with 63% saying their bosses do nothing to help.

In the transport industry, 55% of management offers no guidance or assistance with stress; plumbing and construction (54%), healthcare and education (both 45%) complete the list of the top five sectors least likely to help employees handle work-related stress.

Chieu Cao, CMO and co-founder at Perkbox, said: “It’s worrying to see how few businesses seem to be considering stress levels within their workforce their problem. And it is particularly ironic to see that almost one in two workers within the healthcare industry say their bosses do not offer anything to help them alleviate stress levels.

This can have hugely damaging effects on morale, productivity and sickness absence – all of which ultimately contribute to a company’s overall success, and it is important for bosses to recognise the contribution that work makes to employee stress levels.

Introducing measures that help to reduce stress or encourage positive coping methods need not be particularly involved or expensive – even free things as simple as introducing flexible working, considering requests to work from home or enforcing one-to-ones with managers, to allow employees to discuss concerns and motivations, can go a long way to help. But ultimately, measures which tackle staff stress head-on work best – including gym membership or exercise classes, discounted or complimentary counselling and mental health services, or even spa vouches.”