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Younger employees more affected by workplace stress

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50% of Gen Y workers reported heightened stress at work, compared with 44% of Gen X and 35% of Baby Boomers

Younger workers are more affected by workplace stress than their older colleagues, according to the 2015/16 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey by Willis Towers Watson.

Half (50%) of Generation Y workers reported experiencing heightened stress in the workplace, compared with 44% of Generation X and 35% of Baby Boomers.

The study of 1,895 UK employees found that the top causes of workplace stress for Generation Y were inadequate staffing and low pay, which mirrored the top two causes across all generations. This was followed by a lack of work/life balance and unclear and/or conflicting job expectations, whereas for Baby Boomers the main causes of stress were cited as company culture and excessive organisation change.

Separate research from AXA PPP Healthcare, released on World Mental Health Day, found that 76% of workers who have had financial difficulties say their mental health has also deteriorated. Additionally, 71% who have had problems with their physical health have also experienced difficulties with their mental health.

Mark Winwood, clinical director of psychological health for AXA PPP Healthcare, highlighted the link between life circumstances and mental health.

“Our research shows that when employees are experiencing financial problems or have a mental or physical health issue the link between these areas of wellbeing may lead to their negative experience being exacerbated,” he said. “It’s a potentially toxic mix that calls for careful handling. When considering wellbeing initiatives, employers would be wise to take a holistic approach to enable employees to maintain their mental, physical and financial wellbeing.”

Rebekah Haymes, senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson, said that companies cannot afford to ignore stress.

“To address workplace stress employers first need to understand its root cause from their employees’ point of view,” she said. “Those who base their efforts on misguided assumptions risk trying to solve the wrong problems, and could end up wasting money and alienating staff. Understanding employee views is key to ensuring support is directed to known issues and leads to more successful outcomes.”