From education to employment

Employers’ staff wellbeing initiatives in the spotlight as support for workers is dwindling

men and women sat around a table at work looking at reports
  • New People at Work report from ADP® Research Institute shows 65% of workers say stress adversely affects work and 47% say same about mental health
  • The proportion who feel supported by managers around mental health at work has declined
  • Employers’ activities to promote positive mental health have changed significantly since last year

Stress and poor mental health remain persistent issues in the workplace, but workers say they are getting less support from their managers than last year, reveals the ADP® Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View.

Almost two-thirds (65%) of workers say stress adversely affects their work and almost half (47%, down slightly from 53% last year) say the same about mental health, according to the survey of over 32,000 workers in 17 countries.

Yet in the past year, the proportion of workers who say they feel supported by their managers when it comes to mental health at work has fallen from 70% in 2022 to 64% now. Almost six in 10 (57%) believe that their managers are ill-equipped to talk about mental health issues without judgement.

In the UK, 56% say stress adversely affects their work and 34% say their work is suffering due to poor mental health. The report explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future. 

In terms of what employers are doing to promote positive mental health at work, workers also report that employers are less likely than last year to check in with them, provide wellbeing days off, offer special counselling services or allow stress management breaks.

Instead, team-building activities and employee assistance programmes are gaining traction as mental health-boosting initiatives (see graph below).

Sirsha Haldar, General Manager, UK, Ireland & South Africa, ADP, comments:

“Many employers were extremely supportive of mental health and stress during the pandemic, but they must remain consistent. Workers remain under a huge amount of strain.”

“A caring workplace culture is incredibly valuable for both employers and staff. When people feel safe and supported they’re much more likely to do a better job, need less time off sick and feel more positive about the company they work for.”

“Doing things like offering employee assistance programmes could suggest that employers are rationalising or formalising their wellbeing support arrangements and even outsourcing them. That may be no bad thing. However, they also need to embed support into day-to-day working practices and educate and train managers about how to deal with stress and mental health issues.” 

Workers also report that their employers continue to make progress on developing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. A fifth (20%) say that creating an inclusive workplace culture is a key part of their employer’s support for positive mental health at work, up from one in eight (12%) in 2022.

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