Growing stress levels worry employers
29 November 2000 - A survey of 565 HR specialists (a 10% response rate from
questionnaires sent out to a random selection of 5,600 by the Industrial Society) appears
to show evidence of growing concern about worker stress amongst UK employers. The survey
found that 74% of respondents consider the incidence of workplace stress to be a faster growing
health problem than back pain, smoking and drug or alcohol abuse.
Most employers treat worker health as a serious matter with 77% having workplace health
policies. But employers still seem tardy in dealing with the issue of stress. Just one third actively monitor
stress in the workplace and only 29% have a stress policy. Almost two thirds (63%) of employers
take no action to provide stress awareness coaching for their staff. A mere 8% provide managers
with training on health promotion issues.
According to Pat McGuinness of The Industrial Society: "Employers are aware of
stress and its consequences, but are still struggling to find ways of
identifying and dealing with it. Having open and honest lines of
communication where employees feel that they can freely acknowledge that
they are under stress without fear of retribution can go some way to
alleviating the problem."
45% of employers acknowledged that compliance with legislation was the main reason for
promoting well being but 39% also claim that employee health promotion is a significant part of
holistic people management.
Businesses surveyed tend to deal with health promotion by means of written advice and health
screening (both 61%). 53% provide access to a trained counsellor (53%); 46% offer catering
facilities with healthy eating alternatives; and 31% now have employee assistance
programmes (EAPs). More exotically 5% offer aromatherapy and 5% reflexology.