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1 in 3 employees aren’t comfortable discussing issues at work

16 May 2022

Story by
Alex Crowther, Senior Reporter, The HR World

MentalHealth

Over a third of the nation’s employees don’t feel comfortable opening up about their mental health issues and concerns to anyone at work, a new survey shows.

Given that many of us will be impacted by mental health issues at some point in our careers, it’s concerning that a large portion feel unable to share these concerns in the workplace.

In fact, the survey, by Just Eat for Business, found that many of us are already struggling, as of those surveyed, two fifths (44%) admit often feeling burnout due to work – described as a ‘state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive stress’ (World Health Organisation).

It appears that working relationships play a significant role when it comes to approachability and fostering these mental health discussions, with 40% of workers around the UK admitting that they feel that they don’t know their colleagues very well.

Given this lack of rapport, employees are highly unlikely to share their concerns with colleagues, and also may not feel comfortable going to HR or employers to ask for help.

And with 70 million work days lost each year due to mental health problems in the UK – which costs approximately £2.4 billion annually – it’s crucial that employers look to prioritise promoting constructive conversations while at work, and improving mental health.

One way for businesses to do this is to provide regular opportunities for socialisation – such as catered lunches or after-work socials – which help to foster a friendlier work atmosphere, and in turn will help employees feel more comfortable with colleagues and employers alike.

Matt Ephgrave, Managing Director of Just Eat for Business, said “With the last two years proving particularly stressful for many, it’s crucial that employers take the time to provide opportunities for employees to feel more valued, connected and listened-to while at work.

“And although it’s essential to establish an approachable way to raise specific concerns at work – to HR departments or employers – regularly scheduled team socials and catered lunches can be a great way to gently encourage colleagues to establish strong bonds.”

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