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Data Driven Wellbeing Support

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Employee wellbeing has been moving further to the forefront of businesses’ health agendas since the COVID pandemic, at a rate that we have not seen before. Over the last few years, organisations and their people have been presented with unique and complex challenges. From adapting to hybrid working, navigating the cost-of-living crisis, and the impact of the ever-changing business landscape.

These challenges affect everyone in different ways, so it is important that organisations can develop and implement effective wellbeing strategies to target each unique issue as best as possible. The only way to create a truly effective wellbeing strategy is through a combination of data input and human input – going beyond the numbers when the situation requires it, and understanding how to implement meaningful change.

For the past year, Striide has been gaining insights, collating feedback and undertaking academic research into all areas of employee wellbeing. The ongoing aim is to use this data to support our members, partners and the wider business community. Mainly, to:

- Support employees to cope with times of high-pressure and possible stress and anxiety
- Reduce the likelihood of burnout
- Improve staff retention rates
- Improve staff satisfaction rates
- Improve employee mental health
- Support leaders in driving change forward
- Reduce absenteeism and presenteeism
- Improve business outcomes through better-understood and supported teams

What does the data tell us?

Below you’ll find a summary of different key data points that relate directly to Striide’s objectives over the next 12 months, which is to nurture happy, healthy and high-performing teams, which will help businesses to remain productive, sustainable and profitable.

Managing stress in the workplace

With businesses coming in all shapes and sizes, from one-man bands to multinational market leaders, it is important that wellbeing support is tailored and specific to the needs of each individual team.

For senior leadership teams, it can be difficult to find an effective balance between people being productive and challenged, whilst ensuring their health and/or happiness does not suffer. And everyone has a different tipping point.

Current data suggests that 76% of business professionals are experiencing moderate-to-high levels of stress – a 13% increase on data from 2022 (Champion Health 2023).

Everybody’s ability to manage stress is different, and we all have varying stress ‘capacities’, which further supports the need for individualised approaches to stress management.

35% of employees have reported that the stress they experience at work is having a negative impact on them. This tells us that a degree of stress isn’t always a bad thing, as some people thrive in high stress situations, which applies to the 41% of professionals who have moderate-to-high levels of stress and feel that it is not impacting them negatively.

We cannot however ignore the 35% that are impacted negatively, and it should be these individuals that are the focus of our stress management strategies.

Gaining feedback from your team members will help you to understand the points at which employees thrive under pressure, and where this pressure becomes too much. Providing methods for gathering this feedback that limits disruption to the working day, helps you to collate data frequently to maintain an awareness. You can build up an overall understanding of your employees and the ways you can work with them to help them to perform at their best.

There are also methods of experience and education which will provide a grounding understanding for all team members – to help them navigate their individual journey. Providing support and tools for staff will empower them and power your business journey.

Anxiety and Depression

A substantial number of employees state that they are experiencing some of the many symptoms of anxiety and depression. Data suggests that as many as 60% of employees feel anxious with 56% experiencing symptoms of depression (The Workplace Health Report 2023).

Whilst these symptoms range from ‘mild’ to ‘clinically relevant’, 1 in 4 employees met criteria for clinically relevant symptoms of anxiety and depression, which suggests that these individuals would benefit from further and more detailed assessment from a qualified healthcare professional.

There are further impacts on workplace productivity, with 1 in 5 employees stating that anxiety and depression impacts their ability to perform optimally. However, this is not unique to the work environment, with the same number of employees explaining how it impacts them both inside and outside of the workplace.

It is important to note that statistics like this are not necessarily a result of a lack of effort by organisations to tackle such issues, but employees are still struggling, and whilst these struggles might not always be linked directly to the workplace, the effects are most definitely still felt.

Approaches need to be reviewed and employee feedback gained, so we can ascertain where the gaps might be, and where our responsibility lies in supporting teams so our efforts will be most relevant and effective.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Pain

With the increase in focus on tackling the stigma around mental wellbeing, MSK health and associated pain is often overlooked, despite it still having a significant impact on employee health and wellbeing.

In 2022 alone, a total of 7.3 million working days were lost due to work-related MSK issues, and recent data suggests that 41% of employees are currently experiencing some form of MSK pain, meaning it is still a significant challenge facing many organisations.

The impact of MSK-related pain affects employees’ lives - on both professional and personal levels, with 17% of employees stating that their pain directly impacts their productivity and ability to complete usually simple tasks. (The Workplace Health Report 2023)

The data also shows a large number of employees who are experiencing MSK related issues are not actively seeking the support they need from specialists (physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors).

Employers aren’t expected to provide specialist support in-house, but when we consider the fact that many MSK issues can be successfully treated and managed when addressed early, it is worth employers being aware of this in their wellbeing strategies – making sure that activities are inclusive, the limitations of MSK issues are not overlooked, and signposting is provided where relevant.

Signposting involves directing them to relevant external support, which can be boosted by employers looking for ways to provide education which helps to raise awareness, reduce injury, and boost mood.

Financial Wellbeing

Financial wellbeing is the state of feeling content, comfortable and secure with your financial situation, whilst having the freedom to live the life you want to live.

Since the beginning of the cost-of-living crisis, 34% of employees report financial pressure as a leading cause in stress, which makes it the most common cause of stress outside of work.

The data also shows that different demographics are impacted more than others, with 35% of employees between the ages of 25-34 reporting finances as a cause of stress - the highest proportion of any age group. Female employees are also 33% more likely to experience financial stress than male employees (Champion Health 2023).

Alarmingly, professionals experiencing financial stress are more than twice as likely to experience feelings of suicide or self-harm. This aligns with findings from the UK’s Money and Mental Health Policy Institute who stated that people who have experienced a major financial crisis are almost eight times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than those who have not.

By normalising the conversation around money in work, employers will be better positioned to support and identify the employees who need the most help, as well as understand where education would be beneficial. And then, it’s important to know when your responsibility needs to be in the form of directing employees to further, professional help.

Where do we come in?

Employers and employees alike must look after their overall wellbeing, whilst working to achieve their career and business goals. We understand the realities of the working world, and we continue to investigate the most appropriate and effective measures that can be taken and upheld to deliver meaningful, valuable change across the business community.

The Striide team is always building on insights and producing accessible services to help teams understand relevant, useful information which can be addressed in workplaces, and take action to support team wellbeing and organisational performance.

The range of events, experiences and resources that we create are based on insights from across a range of topics which feed into an overarching approach - designed to support and maintain motivated teams, positively impact local communities, and drive businesses closer towards their targets and ambitions.

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