Employees report low levels of wellbeing

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Relationships between workers and their managers were a factor in hindering staff's ability to balance work and family

The majority (82%) of employees perceive the level of wellbeing within their organisation to be only moderate or low, according to research from Barnett Waddingham.

The Why BWell 2017 report surveyed over 900 employees, and found that just one in five (18%) thought their company’s overall wellbeing was high or very high. This compares with 40% of employers who scored their organisation highly, suggesting a disconnect between workers and managers.

The research found that a quarter (25%) of workers felt neither happy nor unhappy at work, and 11% felt unhappy or very unhappy. Additionally work was found to be having a negative impact on the mental health of workers, but this varied by age. One in five (21%) of those aged 50 and over, a third (32%) of those aged between 30 and 49, and almost half (45%) of those aged 18 to 29 told the researchers that their mental health suffered due to work.

Relationships between workers and their managers were a factor. Nearly a quarter (22%) of employees said that negative attitudes from their managers at work hinder their ability to balance work and family. Additionally 19% blamed the attitudes of peers and colleagues for disrupting their work/life balance.

Damian Stancombe, partner at Barnett Waddingham, said employers and employees should be working together for mutual benefit. “Work should and will become more a symbiotic relationship between employer and employee, with the pursuit of Eudaimonia – [defined as] happiness and flourishing – within the workplace as key,” he said. “Sadly, the results from this survey tell me there is a very long way to go before UK workers will feel happy, and as a consequence, productive in the workplace.

“By considering employees’ happiness and workplace wellbeing, employers would reap the benefits of reduced absence and increased productivity. Not by following fad or fashion but by understanding the real issues impacting the workforce, and where possible, actually doing something about them.”

He added that this has become more important in light of Brexit. “Given the ominous position the UK now finds itself in, improving productivity I believe becomes ever more fundamental,” he said. “Indeed, the success of UK public limited companies is dependent on it.”

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