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    Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

    It’s official – we’re all more stressed at work

    It’s official – we’re all more stressed at work

    Posted on June 2nd, 2024

    New figures released by the Health and Safety Executive and Office for National Statistics reveal the number of people suffering from mental health problems caused by their jobs has soared by 275,000 since the pandemic. In fact, around 875,000 workers experienced job-related stress, anxiety and depression in 2022-23. So, what’s causing this rise in mental health problems? And what can we do to tackle it? Read on as the Occupational Health experts at YourGP react to the figures and suggest five potential contributing factors as to why we’re all more stressed at work…

    The work / life imbalance

    One of the biggest post-pandemic shifts has been the rise of home working. Whilst many people have positively embraced its many benefits – such as cutting out stressful commutes and having greater flexibility – some people have found the switch to home working has negatively impacted their work / life balance.

    Some employees have found the blurring of their home and working environments hard to navigate – checking emails out of hours, working longer hours, skipping lunch breaks, and never truly switching off from work, for example. It therefore follows that one’s mental health is likely to suffer as a result.

    The rise in job insecurity

    Another contributing factor to the increase in stress levels could be directly related to the increase in job insecurity in recent years. Latest figures suggest the rate of company liquidations has been on the rise, leaving many people uncertain about their future. It is only natural that such uncertainty can impact an individual’s mental health.

    The continuing wage stagnation

    According to new findings from thinktank, Resolution Foundation, workers in the UK are £11,000 worse off a year after 15 years of “almost completely unprecedented” wage stagnation. The combination of stagnant wages coupled with the continued rising cost of living is putting many employees under considerable pressure, which can be a real contributing factor for poor mental health and exacerbate issues such as stress, anxiety and depression.

    The lack of occupational health services

    According to the UK Government, only 45% of workers have access to Occupational Health services. And just 28% of employers provide some form of these services. This is in stark contrast to other countries such as Finland, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Italy, where occupational health services are more widely available and, in some cases, are legally required, as highlighted by the 2021 report by the Department for Work and Pensions.

    Access to Occupational Health services is an essential way of protecting and promoting worker’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Giving employees greater access to Occupational Health services would result in their needs being better met, leading to improved productivity, job satisfaction, and crucially improved mental health.

    Greater awareness of mental health

    Whilst there is no doubt the reasons listed above have the potential to contribute to a decline in mental health, it is also important to recognise that much progress has been made in recent years in terms of mental health awareness. Employees are much more likely to recognise the signs and symptoms of poor mental health, and are therefore more likely to seek the appropriate help and support. This could therefore be another contributing factor in the comparative rise in numbers of people recognising and vocalising concerns about their poor mental health.

    What can be done?

    The Occupational Health experts at YourGP believe that safeguarding employees’ mental health is just as important as protecting their physical health. Therefore, all employers have a duty to consider the effects that specific roles and tasks can have on individuals. To do so, regular two-way communication between employers and employees is essential. Workloads should be monitored to ensure they are manageable, and where possible, reasonable adjustments should be made to minimise any potential negative effects.

    Get tailored advice from the Occupational Health experts at YourGP

    For practical advice on how to promote good mental health in your workplace, speak to the Occupational Health professionals at YourGP. Simply email occhealth@your.gp and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment at a time that works for you.

     

    Doctors and reception staff are always incredibly accommodating and polite. Can’t recommend enough!

    Holly Louise H

    YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

    Independent Healthcare Team
    Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
    0131 623 4342 | his.ihcregulation@nhs.scot

    YourGP is registered with the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) Registered Office: Station Road, North Street, Havant PO9 1QU.