The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of 2,000 workers across the UK also found that a third (34%) may have a health and wellbeing issue, with the most common being anxiety, depression and stress.
Two in five (39%) reported that they have taken time off work or reduced their responsibilities because of their health. Of those, 39% did not feel comfortable telling their employer about the issue.
Health and wellbeing was found to have a significant impact on performance, with four out of five workers (83%) believing that their wellbeing influences how productive they are. Jo Salter, director in PwC’s people and organisations business, highlighted the business benefits of a strong health and wellbeing strategy.
“It’s becoming increasingly important for organisations to provide employees with support for their emotional and physical health at work,” she said. “Healthier and happier staff perform better, stay in their business longer, and reduce costs and risks for organisations. Understanding and addressing the root causes of poor employee wellbeing is the first step to resolving the underlying issues.”
Clare Burles, people director at Virgin Trains on the east coast, told HR magazine that mental health should be a particular focus for employers. “Mental health issues can have a significant impact on employee wellbeing and affect long-term absence at work for many UK businesses,” she said. “As responsible employers, we should all be promoting good mental health practices. I do genuinely believe that many employers are aware of the impact of mental health issues; however for many [not] knowing where to go to or how to provide support for their employees who are struggling with issues limits the action they take.
“As this research suggests, some people are not telling their employers what their personal issues are or being open. There could be a number of reasons for this. They may think nothing will be done about it, the right support isn’t in place, or they may fear that people will think less of them if they ask for help.”