11th April 2019

Managers need training to better support their stressed staff

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Stress is a rising problem in UK workplaces, with poor management style and heavy workloads to blame, new research shows.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) carried out the annual Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey Report with Simplyhealth, which showed 37 per cent of UK businesses were affected by the increase in stress-related absence.

A total of 1,078 professionals took part in the survey which revealed 62 per cent deal with heavy workloads, which is the main cause of stress-related absence.
The second biggest contributing factor is management style which has risen to 43 per cent (from 32 per cent) in the last year.

83 per cent of respondents have noted ‘presenteeism’ (going to work when ill) in their organisation and 25 per cent say the problem has worsened since the previous year.
Not only are people going to work when ill, they are also using holiday leave to work (known as ‘leaveism’) but despite this, more than half of the respondents claim their organisation is not addressing the issue.

The CIPD is now calling for senior leaders to prioritise wellness at work. It is encouraging greater investment in health and wellbeing by training managers to better support staff.

Rachel Suff, senior employment relations adviser at the CIPD, said: “Managers should be helping to alleviate stress among their staff, not contributing to it. But too many managers are being set up to fail because they haven’t received adequate training, despite them often being the first person employees will turn to when they have a problem.

“Rates of presenteeism and leaveism, which are both linked to stress, remain stubbornly high. Employers have a responsibility to tackle these bad habits. They must also realise that staff are not going to perform at their best if they are working when ill or using up holiday to work rather than recharge.

“It’s vital that businesses recognise the importance of well-being initiatives and training for line managers. Senior leaders should work with their HR experts to ensure there is sufficient training and an overall culture of well-being in their workplaces.”