By Louise Aston, Wellbeing Director at Business in the Community
As the weather (hopefully) gets warmer, many employees’ thoughts are turning to their summer holidays. Having a break can be great for employees’ wellbeing, both physically and mentally, but after a week or two there is the inevitable return to the office – and potentially to significant levels of stress.
Last year, the Institute of Leadership and Management found that 61% of people felt they needed to work whilst on holiday, with 64% reading work emails. 73% of those surveyed also said they felt more stressed before going on holiday and 18% felt more stressed coming back after a holiday than before they went. Meanwhile, 54% still had holiday allowance left at the end of the year.
If employees can’t take a proper break – or feel under pressure not to take one at all – this can seriously affect their mental health. And in the long run, that can be hugely damaging to business. Mental ill health is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK and stress alone accounts for 43% of working days lost due to ill health, costing employers £25bn a year. Yet 95% of employees cited a reason other than workplace stress for their absence, reinforcing the culture of silence around talking about mental health at work.
Employers need to make mental health business as usual and encourage staff to take regular leave, talk openly about mental health and train line managers to recognise the early warning signs and signpost team members to the appropriate support (and ensuring managers get the support they need too).
Business in the Community is currently conducting the largest ever survey of mental wellbeing at work in the UK and will use the findings to improve employers’ response to mental health issues. But we can’t do it without you – so please take 15 minutes to tell us your experience and share the survey with your networks.
The survey is open to UK employees of all ages and across all sectors, and will run until 29th July. To take part visit www.thewellbeingsurvey.org.uk.