Managing Stress and Wellbeing at Work

This week is International Stress Awareness Week, and according to CIPD, stress is a major cause of long-term absence from work. So, we decided to investigate workplace wellbeing.

Wellbeing and Stress

What is workplace wellbeing and stress

Workplace wellbeing is based on how employees feel, and how employees feel impacts how your businesses performs. According to Indeed’s Work Wellbeing 2023 Report:

  • Only 23% of the workforce are reporting high wellbeing at work.
  • 77% of the workforce is reporting low to moderate wellbeing at work.
Why is this Important

What does this mean for businesses and employees?

High employee wellbeing means that employees believe their employer cares about the wellbeing of the workforce.

These employees are typically less likely to be actively searching for a new role, they tend to be more satisfied with their career, and are more likely to have a longer tenure with their company compared to employees that report low wellbeing in their place of work. So, employee wellbeing and employee retention often go hand-in-hand!

Employees that report low wellbeing in the workplace are likely to have higher levels of work-related stress, are less likely to feel energised in their work tasks, and are more likely to be actively searching for a new role elsewhere.

CIPD reports that stress is a major cause of long-term absence from work.

When employees move on, it costs approximately 20% of the employee’s salary to replace them! Therefore, it is important to get employee wellbeing right in order to retain the workforce.

Calculating Wellbeing

How do we Measure Workplace Wellbeing?

The Oxford Wellbeing Research Centre and the OECD measure employee wellbeing by looking at happiness, purpose, stress, and satisfaction.

They also look at influencers on wellbeing, including foundational, social, and growth needs.

A survey conducted as part of the Indeed Work Wellbeing Report found that feeling energised, and feeling like you have a sense of belonging have the greatest impact on how employees feel in the workplace.

However, 51% of the workforce say they do not feel energised, and 46% of the workforce don’t feel a sense of belonging at work.

A higher work wellbeing score has been linked to many things, including higher levels of productivity, better health and less sick days, better relationships inside of the workplace, higher levels of retention, and easier recruitment prospects when it comes to bringing in new talent:

  • 86% of people with high workplace wellbeing believe they will stay with their employer for the next year.
  • 46% of people with low workplace wellbeing believe they will stay with their employer for the next year.


Although the main reason for employees looking to leave a job within the next year is still pay, wellbeing related reasons are still prevalent.

When people were asked the reasons why they are considering leaving their place of work:

  • 34% of people believe they are not paid fairly for their work.
  • 20% said they feel stressed at work most of the time.
  • 18% said overall, they are not satisfied with their job.
  • 16% do not feel energised in most of their work tasks.
  • 16% do not feel happy at work most of the time.
Showcasing Workplace Wellbeing

What are people’s thoughts on the future of workplace wellbeing?

Recording wellbeing in your business can provide valuable insights to workplace culture, reasons for potential causes of employee turnover, and ways to improve productivity in the workplace.

  • 47% of people believe that it would be useful to see happiness and wellbeing data after they find a job they are interested in, but before they apply.
  • 35% would like this data to be readily accessible, as they’d like to see it before they start searching for jobs.
  • 25% of people would also find it useful to see this data after they have applied for a job, but before they have an interview.

This perhaps emphasises that wellbeing data is likely to attract more candidates. However, whether businesses should or shouldn’t be able to publish that type of information publicly is debatable. Particularly if there’s anything that could be used to identify specific employees within that data.

There is still a lot of positivity surrounding the potential for workplace wellbeing.

  • 97% of people believe that it’s possible for people to have jobs where they feel a clear sense of purpose.
  • 93% of people believe it’s possible for people to be happy at work most of the time.
  • 88% of people believe it’s possible for people to be completely satisfied with their job.
Wanting More

Workplace wellbeing expectations from businesses during the cost-of-living crisis

Workplace wellbeing expectations are rising particularly faster among younger generations.

45% of people report their work wellbeing expectations are higher than they were just one year ago. This has been particularly prevalent with people under the age of 40, especially since the Covid19 pandemic.

With the cost-of-living crisis expecting us all, it’s easy for some businesses to feel pressure to spend more on wellbeing when they might not have the budget to do so. Particularly with 66% of respondents believing that CEO’s, HR, and top managers have the most impact on individual’s wellbeing at work.

Improving Wellbeing in the Workplace

Although some might value financial wellbeing perks, prioritising wellbeing doesn’t have to be expensive and costly.

Building a workplace culture of wellbeing is arguably the best way to promote employee wellbeing, creating a mentally positive workforce.

There are many ways that you can implement this:

  • Measure employee wellbeing – This could be done by anonymous questionnaires to check on employee mental heath. Anonymised activities are more likely to
  • Prioritise – create a people-first culture. Although profit is what drives businesses to grow and develop, research has shown that businesses with high levels of employee wellbeing are more likely to be profitable. Therefore, if you look after your employees, they’re more likely to look after your business.
  • Connect employee wellbeing to happiness and business success – Many businesses might analyse profit and loss alone during quarterly or end-of-year reports. However, including employee wellbeing and feelings towards the business and their role in end-of-year reports allows you a holistic view of the business’s success.
  • Senior leadership understands day-to-day employee struggles – It’s always important to be mindful of when other employees might be struggling with their workload, or burnt out. Making sure you do regular check-ins to understand what their capacity is like, as well as anything in particular they might be struggling with, shows that you understand.
  • Senior leadership sets goals to increase wellbeing, reduce stress, etc. – This can be done by including measurable goals within your business strategy to help improve wellbeing or reduce stress levels within the workforce.
  • Senior leadership adjusts how things work based on employee feedback – providing opportunities for feedback such as questionnaires or focus groups. Providing the option for anonymity helps to increase the honesty of answers.
  • Senior leadership doesn’t expect people to overwork when not needed – promoting a healthy work-life balance through encouraging employees to ensure they book all of their annual leave, offering hybrid working where possible, showing appreciation for people who have gone the extra mile for work when necessary, and encouraging employees to take their lunch breaks. According to research, more than a third of employees sit at their desk, or work through their lunch break!
  • Senior leadership doesn’t promote toxic company culture – Listening to employees and creating a culture that promotes healthy team building opportunities, learning opportunities, providing reasonable deadlines,
Things for Managers to Consider

What are people looking for from their managers in order feel supported

  • 48% want to receive enough support from their manager in difficult situations
  • 44% want to feel heard by their manager
  • 38% want not to be micromanaged
  • 34% want their managers to understand what their employees need to be successful in their role
  • 31% want to have conversations about their growth and development
  • 28% want to feel that feedback to their manager is welcomed
  • 23% want regular meetings with their manager
What's Instore for the Future?

The future of workplace wellbeing

Less than half (43%) of companies are measuring wellbeing in some form. Which means the majority of businesses are not measuring it at all.

However, research shows that businesses are looking to push more mental wellbeing and financial support benefits into employers’ benefits packages going forward.