The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) says that greater investment in management training could be the key to curbing stress at work.

The advice is based on the latest annual Health and Well-Being at Work Survey Report from the CIPD and Simplyhealth, drawn from a survey of 1078 people professionals.

The report notes that nearly two-fifths of UK businesses (37%) have seen an increase in stress-related absence over the last year, and that heavy workloads and poor management style are to blame for these problems.

  • Respondents said that having heavy workloads (62%), which can be attributed to poor management, is the top cause of stress-related absence.

  • The second biggest contributing factor is management style, which has risen from 32% to 43% in the last year.

  • More than four-fifths (83%) of respondents had observed “presenteeism” (going to work when ill) in their organisation and a quarter (25%) say the problem has got worse since the previous year.

  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) have observed “leaveism” (such as using holiday leave to work) in their organisation. More than half (55%) say their organisation hasn’t taken any steps to address the issue.

  • The results underline the fact that the survey records the lowest number of average sick days (5.9 per employee per year) in the 19-year history of the report.

  • Many managers are not receiving the training they need to spot and help manage unhealthy practices among their staff, with just 50% of managers having undergone training to support their staff to better manage stress.

Rachel Suff, senior employment relations advisor at the CIPD, said, “Managers should be helping to alleviate stress among their staff, not contributing to it. But too many managers are being set up to fail because they haven’t received adequate training, despite them often being the first person employees will turn to when they have a problem”.

Last reviewed 12 April 2019