When it comes to mental health in the workplace, new research suggests that company culture could be a leading cause of stress among employees.

The study, carried out by insurer MetLife and reported on by People Management, found that 37 per cent of people said they felt their employer had been honest at the recruitment stage about the pressures and demands would be put on them. In contrast, 56 per cent of HR professionals said the stress risks were clarified.

This suggests that there exist significant differences in the ways in which staff members and companies view mental health in the workplace.

When asked, 45 per cent of HR professionals said they believed their company’s culture was the source of stress, with 40 per cent saying they were actively working towards creating an inclusive and caring environment at work.

On a positive note, there has been a small improvement in the levels of stress that people are experiencing, with 42 per cent saying they considered their job stressful or extremely stressful, compared to 47 per cent back in 2014 when the survey was last conducted.

The majority (84 per cent) of employers asked said there was no clarity regarding best practice for addressing mental health conditions at work. However, some progress has been made in this regard, with 64 per cent of workers saying their company now offers support, compared to 51 per cent in 2014.

Employee benefits director at MetLife UK Adrian Matthews was quoted by the news source as saying: “Employers are saying they need help: 84 per cent said there is no clarity on best practice to address mental health issues in the workplace. It may be that the explosion of interest in the topic is leading employers into inaction.”

The latest Wellbeing Index from Westfield Health indicates that there has been a rise in the incidence of leavism, where people work outside their contracted hours or while on annual leave.

Some 11 per cent of staff members admit that they respond to calls and emails while they’re on holiday. And 36 per cent say they think their boss expects them to be on standby when they’re on annual leave, with 17 per cent of holiday time spent actually worrying about work.

What this ultimately means is that personal health and wellbeing could well suffer, since there’s no real break from work being had. Quality time with family while away will likely be affected by having to deal with queries and emails – and it could ultimately have an impact on a worker’s overall mental health.

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