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New research from Unum shows 72% of employees feel ‘nervous, tense or edgy at work’, with early intervention key to supporting mental health

9th October 2018

  • 72% of employees feel ‘nervous, tense or edgy at work’
  • 48% of employees feel ‘tired or worn out’ at least once a week
72% of UK employees say they feel nervous, tense or edgy while at work at least 5% of the time – according to employee benefits provider Unum. And this figure goes up to 82% among 24-34 year olds.

The survey by Unum of 3,000 UK employees also showed 48% of employees ‘feel tired or worn out’ at least once a week. With mental ill-health being the leading cause of long term absence for working people of all ages*, Unum is urging employers to be aware of these early warning signs.

Liz Walker, Unum’s HR director commented: “In our experience, if an employee is struggling to cope, early and focused intervention can help prevent a short term concern manifesting into a more serious illness.

“Employers and line managers can ensure they are in tune to signs that an employee maybe under stress, or suffering from mental ill-health, and provide appropriate support. Even simple steps such as reducing a workload, or ensuring the employee is aware of resources such as Employee Assistance Programmes, can have a big impact.”

Things to consider if an employee shows signs of stress or mental ill health:

1) Reducing pressure

Do reduced hours, increased breaks, working from another office closer to home or lower targets need to be agreed?

2) Adjusting the working environment

Are seating arrangements, safety concerns or distractions causing a problem, or do you need to carry out a stress audit or risk assessment?

3) Ensuring awareness of third-party help

If you have access to an Employee Assistance Programme, do your people know about it, and do they understand that it’s confidential?

Liz Walker added: “Our research also showed a good relationship with a line manager came second only to reward when it comes to what people want most at work. This is a good reminder of the important role managers can play in supporting the mental wellbeing of employees.”

Unum’s Group Income Protection provides a wide range of support for working people with mental health problems and their employers, including early intervention and vocational rehabilitation, access to therapy, Employee Assistance Programmes, training and Mental Health First Aid. Earlier this year Unum launched a Mental Health Pathway to point people towards the right support as early as possible.

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