Seventy-nine per cent of employees have experienced mental health issues such as stress and anxiety related to their work, a new survey published by Misco has found.

The figure represents an increase of 16 percentage points, up from 63 per cent in the 2021 survey.

The data was compiled into the third edition of the Employee Well-being at the Workplace survey, which Misco began in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data was collected through a 10-minute survey distributed among employed people online, to which 355 people responded.

Asked to rate their mental wellness on a scale of one to four, 63 per cent rated it positively while 37 per cent rated it negatively, with positive responses going down from where they stood at 69 per cent last year.

Sixty-eight per cent of respondents said that they had experienced a mental health problem directly caused by their job in the past 12 months.

More than half (52 per cent) of respondents said that they worked more than 40 hours a week and 47 per cent described their stress levels as being poor or very poor, with 58 per cent also saying that they consider their job to be stressful, up from 47 per cent in 2021.

43% subject to heavy workload

Half of the employees surveyed additionally said that they felt pressure at work, with 43 per cent saying that they were subject to a heavy workload and 41 per cent to tight deadlines.

When it comes to factors that impact their performance at work, 40 per cent cited trouble concentrating as a major cause of their poor mental wellness, while 29 per cent attributed this to conflict with their colleagues.

There was a slight increase in employees who said that their employer takes mental health seriously, up to 56 per cent from 53 per cent in 2021 and 50 per cent in 2020.

However, the number of people who said they knew who to turn to if they were experiencing mental health difficulty at the office decreased from 53 per cent in 2021 to 48 per cent.

72% never disclosed issues with employer, superior

Almost two-thirds (72 per cent) said they have never disclosed unmanageable stress or mental health problems to an employer or superior at work, increasing by four percentage points from 68 per cent in 2021.

“One of the aspects that struck us most was that, while stress levels remained very much at the levels of previous years, with 47 per cent claiming that their stress level is poor to very poor, 39 per cent also stated their sense of optimism level is poor to very poor which is slightly more than the 34 per cent reported the previous year,” the survey’s analysis said.

“This can be easily attributed to the pandemic fatigue which WHO defines as an ‘expected and natural response to a prolonged public health crisis’.

“In 2022, many employees started working the majority of their time from the office and this post-pandemic re-entry has brought about a great deal of changes to our working style.

“While expectations and anxieties might have changed due to the pandemic, employers and employees both need to dedicate time and effort to readapt in a sustainable manner.”

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