Data released in February by Lime Global reveals that three in four workers are now suffering from the affects of having to put on a brave face on to colleagues. This is a jump of almost 25%, up from 51%, compared to participants surveyed in May 2021.
What’s driving the increase?
In this latest survey, a third now say they are struggling to cope at work, an increase from just over a quarter (26%) in May 2021. The biggest worry revolves around money as the results revealed that 34% of respondents were concerned over the rising cost of living.
Over a quarter (28%) revealed they were stressed at work, while 17% said they were worried about the physical health of their loved ones.
It seems that those on earning a lower salary between £15,001 and £25,000 p.a. are suffering the most. Nearly half of those in this salary bracket (46%) admit to worrying about money, 34% are stressed at work and 19% are worried about their families’ health.
The cost to UK businesses
It’s perhaps unsurprising that this “brave face culture” is leading to absenteeism with a cost to employees’ mental health and employers’ bottom lines.
The research revealed that over half of employees (54%) have taken time off work due to the pressure of putting on a brave face.
We recently reported on the link between a lack of wellbeing support and increase in mental health absenteeism, something which costs UK businesses £2.4 billion every year.
This latest data highlights this further. On average, survey participants take 2.75 days off a year due to having to keep up appearances. That could mean 134 million days lost to pleasanteeism every year if applied to the whole of the UK workforce.
The expectation of employees
There was an element of the need for fairness shown, too. Half of respondents have higher expectations of mental health support provided by their employer than they did before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Further to this, two thirds (65%) believe that benefits should be offered to the whole of the workforce, with 45% saying that it was unfair that health and wellbeing benefits aren’t offered to all employees across the board.
What can employers do?
The stats in this article may feel overwhelming to managers and team leaders. But it’s never too late to put together a strategy to support the mental wellness of your people.
The pandemic has certainly contributed to mental health problems felt by employees in a range of sectors. On top of this, many are now facing unprecedented levels of inflation and a squeeze on living costs.
Having a comprehensive employee benefits package can help alleviate some of those worries that employees may be feeling. Tools like Employee Assistance Programmes, health cash plans, medical and dental insurance and financial education could all help to support your team in areas of their life they may be struggling.
As well as this, you may want to consider how you can keep communication open within your business around mental health to break down the stigma associated with it.