New data published by Zurich’s Corporate Risk Team has revealed a 50 percent year-on-year increase in the volume of calls to its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) over the last 12 months relating to job related stress.
The assistance programme is available to employees seeking support through companies that use Zurich’s Group Protection services. Key findings of the data include a sharp uptick in calls while the country experienced the Omicron variant of COVID in November 2021, and a 67 percent increase in calls about anxiety-related issues. Meanwhile calls relating to job stress were also up by 48 percent.
Commenting on the findings, The Head of Group Risk at Zurich UK, Nick Homer, said: ‘We have also seen huge increases in requests for support for anxiety and work-related stress, which can be key contributors to workplace absence. Early identification of any illnesses, issues or mental health concerns can lead to swifter intervention, which in turn maximises the likelihood of a continued presence at work or the employee making a successful return. It is in an employer’s interest to offer the proactive and preventative care that will enable them to get the best from their employees, boost productivity and reduce the risk of mental-health related sickness or absence.’
The Workers Union Says…
In recent months The Workers Union has reported on a number of stories about the state of workers’ mental health. Some may see this as an example of pushing a particular agenda, but this organisation has no such qualms. Anxiety, depression and work-related stress are an ugly triumvirate of conditions that harm productivity, destroy domestic harmony and leave people isolated and bereft.
While it is encouraging that some employers offer benefits packages that go beyond a coffee and a chat with an obliging manager, there can be no doubt that more must be done to tackle these issues. Nobody knows whether the enforced isolation and frontline stress of the COVID years will return in the future, but now there are no excuses. The metrics are all laid out in a hundred analyses that’ve wiped down a cloudy window on the private suffering of so many workers. We can and must do better.
Some companies are doing their bit to light the path ahead. Recent reports of a hotel in Durham partnering with a mental health charity to highlight mental health issues in the hospitality sector are encouraging. But that does not hide the inconvenient truth that many bosses consider a wage for their workers sufficient compensation for the time they spend scrabbling to meet deadlines or working in difficult and dangerous conditions.
So it’s time for company chiefs to heed these warnings. If we want the British lion to roar, the best investment should be in happy and motivated staff.