• Cigna research reveals almost half of UK workers have noticed their colleagues are stressed
• 83% of them feel this stress is impacting the workplace
• Only 1 in 10 working Brits who are stressed have spoken to a medical professional
29 May 2019 – Workers in the UK are being urged to take a more active role in their colleagues’ mental health, with new research from Cigna revealing almost half have spotted signs of stress amongst their colleagues.
The annual Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey1 found the majority of stressed employees (56%) work in an ‘always on’ corporate culture. A staggering 83% of people who notice stress amongst colleagues believe this is having an impact on their workplace with morale and team spirit most affected. Despite these stark findings, the research shows only 28% of employers have a formal wellness programme in place to support employees.
Whilst it’s no secret an overwhelming number (72%) of British workers currently suffer from stress, alarmingly only 11% have sought professional help. The research also discovered almost half of those surveyed (46%) noticed colleagues suffering from stress, with symptoms including:
• Moodiness (40%)
• Fatigue (23%)
• Crying (21%)
• Reduced work performance (20%)
Mental Health Campaign
With UK employees working the longest hours in the EU2, an average of 42 hours a week last year ahead of the likes of Holland, Italy, Belgium, France and Sweden who average 39, colleagues are often best placed to recognise the early warning signs of a mental health issue. Cigna has launched a ‘Put a Face On’ mental health campaign to educate on the signs and symptoms to look out for in the workplace.
Spot the Signs
• Antisocial – social withdrawal, such as distancing themselves from colleagues, friends and family
• Behaviour – erratic behaviour with extreme highs and lows or strong feelings of anger, often unexplained
• Concentration – confused thinking and feelings of disorientation and missed deadlines
• Drugs and alcohol abuse – where anxiety may signal substance or alcohol dependency
• Emotional and physical impact – extreme sadness, worry or tearfulness, or unexplained aches and pains
How to Support Colleagues
• Arrange the right time and place for a chat and ensure they feel comfortable
• Be a friend – reassure and encourage and don’t show signs of surprise or judgment
• Conversation – adopt active listening, use eye to eye contact, acknowledge what’s being said
• Don’t immediately suggest solutions, they may welcome advice but may just need to vent
• Encourage them to get help if you’re worried and ensure you have information at hand such as helpline numbers and web links
Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer – Cigna Europe, commented: “We’re living in an ‘always on’ culture, with stress at an all-time high. It’s evident from our research that employers can do more to empower their staff to support each other. Our practical tips help employers and employees spot the signs and encourage a more open culture in addressing mental health issues in the workplace.”
Cigna works to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of the people it serves. Customers can self-refer for support relating to any type of mental health concerns. They simply call the Cigna team and where appropriate, are fast tracked to treatment. This early intervention can prevent emotional wellbeing issues from getting worse, reduce the cost of treatment and help members return to work quickly.
Now in its fifth year, the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey examines people’s perceptions of well-being across five key pillars - physical, family, social, financial and work. The results reveal that the overall UK Well-Being Index increased slightly from 59.7 in 2018 to 62.5 in 2019. This means that, after a fall in previous years, the Index is improving. The UK now sits above the global average (62.0) and ranks higher than European markets such as Benelux (59.1), France (61.6) and Germany (61.6).
To read the full report, visit 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey – “Well and Beyond”.
– Ends –
Cigna is a global health service company and leading provider of health benefits and services to employers and some 65 million employees worldwide. In the UK, Cigna advocates and encourages a healthier lifestyle for employees to help prevent future ill health. We provide employers of all sizes with affordable healthcare plans to improve the physical, mental and dental health of their local or global workforce. Our healthcare solutions are there to support whole person health no matter where employees are based – at home or on assignment. To learn more, including links to follow us on social media, visit www.cigna.co.uk.