Laya Healthcare Workplace Wellbeing Index – A Tale of two Halves
10th November 2023
Laya Healthcare is helping employers stay a beat ahead by supporting their employee’s mental health through the Workplace Wellbeing Index, one of Ireland’s largest studies among Irish employees and employers in the workplace.
The results this year tell a tale of two halves, with workplace patterns comfortably stabilising alongside concerning trends of increasing anxiety leading in some cases to substance abuse.
Tackling Intense Anxiety
Research shows that overall, while good mental health and wellbeing is rising in employees, so too is very poor mental health which has seen an incremental increase from 5% to 8%. Almost 20% of women and 12% of men report feeling anxious all the time. Financial concerns including the rising cost of living continues to be a main driver of anxiety for 63% of those suffering from anxiety, which has decreased from 71% last year.
Worryingly, the percentage of employees struggling with substance abuse, as an effect of anxiety, has doubled.
On a positive note, the stigma around mental health is being reduced. This may be attributed to the fact that more businesses are now offering mental wellbeing services to employees with 70% feeling supported by their employer to take time to look after their mental health, an increase of 10% in the last twelve months. That feeling of support is evidenced from the top, with leaders actively engaging and participating in supports on offer (61%) and promoting a culture of wellbeing support (65%) with employees feeling encouraged by leadership to take care of their health and wellbeing (62%) – a significant increase in all measures year on year.
Unlocking Wellbeing for Women
Women’s health and wellbeing in the workplace has improved this year but still trails men.
Females placed significant value on flexibility in the workplace with 78% welcoming the option of wellbeing days at work, 37% explicitly saying that work is damaging their mental health, compared to 29% of men.
Two in three women also claimed to have worked when they should have been off sick and were less likely to take a sick day for mental health reasons (37% vs 41%) despite feeling more anxious than their male counterparts.
Two thirds of female employees feel it’s important to have a menopause policy in place with other family friendly supports also welcomed.
Connecting Lone Workers
Lone workers are those who work by themselves without close or direct supervision. Anybody who works alone, including contractors, self-employed people and employees are classed as a lone worker. While working alone remotely works for some people, there are others who relish in office days and welcome the hybrid model.
This year, there has been a shift in hybrid working and twice as many companies are now mandating in office days. Two days working from home is the new normal for most, compared to three days last year.
While this shift is present across both genders, women are working more days from home than men, with 17% working from home four days a week versus just 6% of men. Almost six in ten hybrid workers claim to be more productive working from home
Overall job satisfaction is on the rise for employees with three in ten experiencing higher satisfaction than the year prior. This is in part driven by a greater work life balance and flexibility in the workplace. Further importance has been placed by employees on childcare, with 16% citing the ability to balance childcare needs as a key factor in overall job satisfaction.
Commenting on the research findings, Sinead Proos, Head of Health & Wellbeing at Laya Healthcare said, “Overall, we are seeing more positive trends in workplace wellbeing this year. Ways of working have stabilised with an air of optimism among employees and HR leaders surveyed.
We know that issues for employees are changing every year, results we have seen in terms of substance abuse and an increase in very poor mental health means that employers need to remain agile in their understanding of the issues facing people and respond accordingly.
It is encouraging to see so many businesses implementing and indeed benefiting from wellbeing supports but it is important that these are effectively communicated to employees to foster a supportive and inclusive workplace.
Having the right supports in place reflects well on wider company values which are of significant importance for job seekers.”
The full Workplace Wellbeing Index report and supporting playbooks to support a healthy workforce, can be downloaded from 16 November at <layahealthcare.ie/wellbeingindex>.
Pictured at the launch of the Laya Healthcare Workplace Wellbeing Index is (l-r): Dr Sumi Dunne, GP, Specialist in Women’s Health with Sinéad Proos, Head of Health and Wellbeing, Laya Healthcare. Picture Andres Poveda