Job stress is the top reason for sleepless nights

International health benefits provider, Aetna International, recently surveyed 4,000 office workers and 1,000 HR directors across the globe to find out their thoughts on the current state of health care and wellness provisions in the workplace.

As part of the Business of Health 2020 report, employees were asked about their sleeping habits and what causes them to lose sleep at night. The survey revealed that:

  • More than half (56%) of office workers don’t think they get enough sleep
  • Interestingly, employees said that they get 7.3 hours of sleep per night, on average (still fewer than the recommended 8). Of this number, they feel that only 5.3 hours is quality sleep
  • Job stress is the top cause behind employees’ sleepless nights, with more than a third (34%) stating that stress stops them from getting enough sleep
  • Working long hours (29%), using electronics in bed (25%), and financial concerns (23%) are all factors which also stop employees from getting enough sleep

Conflicting opinions
The survey also revealed some contrasting opinions between HR directors and employees regarding stress in the workplace.

In fact, as many as 38% of employees rated access to support for stress as poor, compared to just 11% of HR directors – highlighting a significant disconnect between HR directors and employees’ needs and expectations.

Regional views
In terms of geographic location, HR directors and employees in some locations had more heavily-conflicting opinions. For example:

  • 51% of employees in the UAE rated the level of support their employer provides for managing stress as poor. Meanwhile, only 13% of HR directors in the UAE rated their company’s support for stressed employees as poor
  • Globally, only 22% of employees feel that the level of support their employer provides for managing stress is good. A higher number of HR directors feel that the level of support offered to employees for managing stress is good (25%)
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Interestingly, 87% of employees are concerned that stress will impact their ability to work at some point in the future.

Both HR directors and employees were also asked about the level of support their company/employer provides for mental health. Again, the survey found that there is a significant disconnect between how HR directors perceive mental health support offered at work, and how employees see it:

  • While nearly half (43%) of HR Directors think the mental health support at their company is good, only a quarter (25%) of employees agree
  • Only 16% of HR Directors rated the level of mental health support received from employers as poor, while 32% of employees rated the level of support as poor

Rob Stephenson, founder of InsideOut and mental health influencer, commented: “Looking at these statistics, there is one thought in my mind: this is not good enough. When there is such a gap between employee concerns regarding the impact of stress and the number of HR professionals who feel that company support for this is adequate, it’s clear that something has to change.

“It’s imperative that our leaders get fully behind the mental health & well-being agenda, show vulnerability and compassion rather than concentrate on an aggressive style, and create cultures that allow people to thrive in the workplace and beyond.”

The full report can be read here.

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