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Managers refuse to recognise health and wellbeing problems in their own teams

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Managers claim health and wellbeing issues affect their own teams much less than their organisation as a whole.

According to a survey of 300 managers across the UK and Ireland from Right Management, despite the majority of managers (73%) believing health and wellness impacts employees' levels of engagement, 70% felt there were no issues or were unable/unwilling to comment when asked which issues were particularly relevant to their team.

Stress in the workplace is one of the greatest wellbeing issues. Of the 63% of organisations, however, that offer stress management programmes, only 29% of employees use them.

Despite weight management, diet and fitness being seen as a low-priority wellbeing issue for organisations and managers (19% and 1% respectively), gym and fitness benefits are the most popular benefits with employees of organisations that offer them.

More than 90% believe that a strategic approach to wellness and wellbeing affects overall organisational performance to some extent, with just over 50% feeling that it does so to a fair or great extent. However, almost no one felt their company supplied an integrated wellness programme.

There has been a small but significant decrease in the provision of wellbeing services driven by the economic downturn and pressure on budgets. All sub-groups show a significant decline, although this is worst among Irish companies and the manufacturing/construction sectors, which have felt the effects of recession more. The public sector is least affected

Kirsten Sholl, senior management consultant at Right Management, said: "These results are symptomatic of a more complex management problem. There is still unwillingness in many organisations to talk about health and wellbeing issues such as workplace stress. If organisations are not honest and open then managers won't be either.

"Employers must ensure their managers are tooled-up and educated on these matters if not only to satisfy their duty of care but to ensure the productivity of their staff and the wellbeing of their business."