Stress levels among Aussie workers on the rise

More than 60 per cent of Aussie worker are feeling stress at least once a week according new research.

A survey of 1908 conducted by payroll and HR company ADP reveals that Australians are amongst the least likely in the Asia Pacific region to openly talk about mental health problems at work. Almost a third of those surveyed said that they would not be comfortable talking to anyone at work about their mental health, a ratio almost double that of the regional average, which is 14 per cent.

“For business owners, leaders and managers, there is a duty of care to foster a work environment that prioritises its employee’s mental health and wellbeing,” Eddie Megas, Managing Director of ADP Australia, said. “While being under pressure is a normal part of life, the number of Australians reporting that they are experiencing stress on a weekly basis suggests we are falling short.

“It is widely accepted stress can cause or exacerbate existing mental health conditions, such as anxiety or depression,” Megas added. “Mental health has a huge impact upon people, communities, businesses and the economy. Alongside the ethical considerations to creating a supportive and productive work environment, we know there is a strong business case to be made too.

Megas pointed out that that absenteeism and presenteeism due to mental health

issues is estimated to cost the Australian economy up to $17 billion a year. He said that workforces with lower incidences of mental stress are likely to be more productive, have higher levels of employee retention and report fewer days of workplace sickness absence.

“It really is in everyone’s interests – employers and employees alike – to improve the mental health of our teams,” Megas said.

“An open and honest dialogue is the first step in addressing the issues – raising concerns so plans and procedures can be introduced to help alleviate the causes of stress,” Megas added. “We should dig deep and move quickly to understand why Australians are less likely as other workers across APAC to not raise mental health issues with their bosses.”

Underlining the fact that work-life balance is a strong indicator of mental health in the workplace, Megas urged business owners to offer Wellness or Health and Wellbeing programs, flexible working arrangements and Employee Assistance Programs to their employees.

“We have had great success with our Health and Wellbeing program with the most popular sessions focussing on ‘Staying Healthy Working from Home’, Building Resilience’ and ‘Mental Health Awareness’,” Megas said.

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