News ID: 202115
Published: 0720 GMT October 10, 2017

Presenteeism linked to mental health issues in the workplace

Presenteeism linked to mental health issues in the workplace

A survey conducted by The Hoxby Collective has found that 33 percent of workers said they’d suffered from mental health issues as a direct result of working rigid hours.

Of those people, 90 percent were dealing with excessive levels of stress, 78 percent had anxiety, 60 percent were suffering from depression, and 52 percent had insomnia, reported.

A third of these people had to take time off work as a result of their mental health issues.

This suggests that our standard nine to five culture, which rewards people for working overtime and frowns on flexible hours, simply isn’t working for our mental wellbeing.

About 61 percent of those surveyed said they feel pressure to work late, citing reasons such as wanting to show commitment, because others work late, because the boss works late, and being keen for a promotion.

To change that, bosses need to lead by example, leaving on time and taking their full lunch breaks, and making sure that consistently working late isn’t praised.

It doesn’t create better quality work, only making workers stressed and exhausted, resulting in the need to take time off later down the line.

Bosses need to encourage a working culture in which people aren’t judged simply on turning up and sitting at their desk the longest. Value the quality of people’s contributions, allow for flexible working hours when needed, and encourage workers to leave on time and get the rest and relaxation they need.

The survey found that not only is flexible working better for workers’ happiness, but it also results in higher productivity than more rigid structures.

About 88 percent of workers surveyed said they’re more efficient when their hours are flexible. Of those, 73 percent say it’s because they’re happier, 71 percent say they’re more focused, and 67 percent say they’re working at more productive times.

Helen Barnes, an Associate at The Hoxby Collective, said: “I have always known that part of my recovery from postnatal depression meant getting back some independence, and I needed to work in order to achieve that. But the thought of work filled me with dread.

“Then I discovered The Hoxby Collective, a platform that allows me to work when and where I want, while being surrounded by a like-minded network of people who also strive to achieve that elusive work/life balance.

“Progress on recovery is hard and slow at times, but knowing there is a work environment that suits me makes it easier.”

Of course, the answer to the mental health crisis isn’t for all of us to quit our jobs and start working through The Hoxby Collective.

Instead, it’s about a massive change in the way we approach our working lives. Bosses, take note: You’ll have happier, healthier, and much more productive workers if you scrap presenteeism and start putting your workers’ needs first.

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