A study of 4,383 employees has revealed that the number of professionals experiencing anxiety and stress has increased, with 1 in 3 people reporting they never or rarely feel relaxed.
Data released by global workplace well-being provider Champion Health gives an insight into the health and well-being of the working population between January 2023 and October 2023.
While female professionals remain more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety (68%), the number of men experiencing at least mild symptoms has seen a rapid increase from 38% in 2022 to 60% in 2023.
Financial worries continue to rise and are reported as the leading cause of stress outside of work, cited by 41%, up from 37% last year. And it’s male workers who are experiencing the most financial pressure (42%, compared to 36% of men last year).
Worryingly, the number of 16- to 24-year-olds experiencing negative stress at work has doubled since last year, and the same age group cites financial pressure as a major cause of stress, an increase from 34% to 46%.
The data, which has been published in Champion Health’s annual report also revealed that:
- The prevalence of thoughts of suicide or self-harm has increased to 13%, up from 8% in 2021 and 9% in 2022
- 40% of young people between ages 16 and 24 experience clinically-relevant symptoms of anxiety
- 38% of people are experiencing unhelpful or negative levels of stress in the workplace
- 53% reported feeling down, depressed or hopeless
- Physical health symptoms have also increased; 64% report eye strain, 46% report tired eyes and 34% experience headaches during the working day
Harry Bliss, CEO of Champion Health, comments: “It’s no surprise that the last few years have been extremely tough on employees. The fact that workers experiencing suicidal thoughts are continuing to rise year-on-year is distressing, and a 44% increase from last year is a statistic that cannot be ignored. The reality is that in a workforce of 1,000 staff, 130 will be having thoughts about taking their own lives, which could have a devastating impact.
“Our report shows financial pressure is affecting more people – especially younger people. However, the well-being scores correlate with the person’s relationship with money – the healthier your understanding of finances, ability to budget and how you feel about money, the more positive your well-being is likely to be. In our report, financial expert Ryan Briggs mentions the importance of creating a psychologically safe space to talk about money in the workplace – in the same way we are for mental health. This is an important message for business leaders to empower their people with knowledge about managing finances.
“On a personal level, I’m happy to see that people who have access to the Champion Health platform are feeling healthier, happier and supported at work. The data shows the prevalence of low mood symptoms decreased by 12% after using Champion Health for six months or longer, as well as a 16% rise in people saying they feel supported at work after accessing Champion Health resources. That has been our purpose from day one and this data demonstrates support from employee assistance programmes is needed now more than ever.”
Champion Health’s solutions were developed by world-leading academics, GPs, and technology professionals. Through a team of over 100 professionals and academics, the company is proud to have improved health and well-being outcomes across the UK. It works with companies including E.ON, Currys, Rabobank, and the NHS.
The Workplace Health Report: 2024 was developed by Champion Health with a team of external contributors including occupational health and mental health specialists, physiotherapists, fitness coaches, and financial and female health experts.
Laura Dallas, head of product at Champion Health who played a key role in analysing the data behind the report, comments:
“For me, the most exciting trend is the positive impact the Champion Health platform is having on employee well-being. Even though symptoms of anxiety and low mood are rising, these difficulties are less prevalent in those using the platform. We also show that employees feel more supported and part of a team after their organisation partners with us.
“These encouraging results emphasise the significance of early intervention in creating a supportive and resilient workplace. By giving employees the right tools at the right time, they can take control of their well-being and make it a priority – especially when employers promote a culture that normalises the well-being conversation.
“What lies ahead of us in 2024 is uncertain, but one thing I’m sure of is that a continued prioritisation of proactive initiatives is going to be crucial in fostering healthier, more resilient workforces.”