National Sickie Day – The Impact of Mental Heath on Employment

3rd February named National Sickie Day

As chronic stress and other mental health concerns encourage 8.6 million workers to call in sick, Smart TMS research provides insight into the psychological state of the UK’s workforce, and showcases the need for improved focus on mental health at work.

Yesterday, February 3rd, has officially been deemed “National Sickie Day”. Traditionally, the first Monday of February is the day on which most people call in sick across the country. Last year, 8.6 million people called in sick, according to a report by the BBC.

Workplace Mental Health

Poor mental health in the workplace has long been a concern. A variety of reports, such as the aforementioned BBC report and a survey conducted by the mental health charity Mind, have shown that the UK’s employers are losing considerable amounts of money due to mental health issues experienced by employees.

At Smart TMS, we have conducted research across a nationally representative pool of UK employees, to explore the mental health challenges they face on a daily basis. Our research shows that a huge proportion of the UK’s workforce not only suffers from considerable mental health challenges, but feel they cannot express their concerns or seek help out of fear of losing their professional reputation:

  • 28% of UK workers said they experience unmanageable levels of stress and anxiety as a result of their jobs
  • Almost 1 in 3 (29%)of UK workers feel they can’t express their concerns or be honest with their employer, as they believe they would lose their professional reputation, or even their job
  • Over one in five (22%) – of UK workers said that they are too busy to think about their mental health, despite having consistent symptoms of anxiety/depression
  • One third (32%)of UK workers no longer enjoy work as much as they used to

Is there a solution?

These findings suggest that workplace conditions are by no means set up to help employees express their concerns. A lack of mental health provisions at work and the outdated attitude to mental health in many workplaces has been an issue for some time, but now it is undeniable that a change in attitude and a removal of the stigma must take place.

It is in the best interests of everybody, both employers and employees, to enter into honest and transparent communication around mental health concerns and workplace-induced stress. This can only help both parties in working towards achieving a more beneficial state, reducing spend for employers and boosting productivity, whilst also ensuring that employees remain happy and healthy.