Staff taking sickies due to ‘bad bosses’ creating stress and anxiety


New research by CABA – the charity that supports the wellbeing of chartered accountants, has found that poor management is creating sickness absence, as well as contributing to poor productivity, poor mental health and high staff turnover.

The research found that employees were being forced to take drastic action to stop their workplaces having an adverse effect on their wellbeing.


58% suffering stress, anxiety or depression

More than half of the employees surveyed – 58 per cent – said they’d experienced reduced mental wellbeing, such as suffering with stress, anxiety or depression, due to poor personal wellbeing at work. Additionally, 74 per cent of employees said their concentration had been affected and 53 per cent had seen poor results or performance.


42% taking more sick days and 63% have lower productivity

As a result of poor wellbeing over two in five (42 per cent) admitted they’d taken more sick days. Sixty three per cent of employees said they’d taken longer to get jobs done due to decreased productivity and half (54 per cent) said they’d experienced confrontations with their colleagues.


39% vote with their feet

39 per cent of employees said they had actually left a job due to poor treatment, with women most likely to vote with their feet (43 per cent vs 36 per cent of men). An additional 20 per cent of employees said whilst they’d not actually left, they’d come close.


Kelly Feehan, Services Director for CABA commented:

“The workplace is changing; it’s no longer somewhere to turn up, do a job and go home. So much more is demanded from employees nowadays with our ‘always on’ culture, so how we treat employees needs to change too. This includes motivating them, keeping them engaged and then working with them to support their health and wellbeing both in and out of work. Employers lacking a holistic wellness policy will most likely be seeing these dips in productivity and decreased employee loyalty. Employee wellbeing is not a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity if employers want to attract and retain the best talent.”


Bosses get stressed too!

Absence management expert Adrian Lewis from Activ Absence said the results made for interesting reading, but that wellbeing doesn’t only apply to staff:

“It’s really interesting to see a study directly linking sick days to poor management and overwork.  One of the things we are keen to stress to our customers is the need for a good work/life balance.  The ‘always on’ culture, in and out of work, is contributing to poor mental health, but the same tech that creates the problem can be used to solve it, reminding staff to take all their breaks and annual leave – and reminding colleagues when they are not supposed to be contacted.  Bosses get stressed too – sometimes the reminders and the need for ‘time out’ are as important for them as for their employees.”


67% look at email outside work hours

Increased workplace demands were also identified by respondents as wellbeing concerns they face every day. Two in three employees stated they worked overtime, and were not strict about leaving on time, despite how it can affect work-life balance and their productivity. An additional 67 per cent said they looked at emails outside of working hours and 55 per cent said they do not get plenty of sleep, despite 49 per cent wishing they did.

Feehan concluded:

“For businesses to get the best out of their workforce, they need to remind them to take care of themselves – this forms a basic duty of care. Sleep deprivation costs the economy £40 billion a year[1], but employers are not encouraging employees to take simple wellbeing measures such as going home on time or keeping off emails to give their brains a break. If the workforce is now going to work for longer – both in terms of hours and years – we need to ensure we’re nurturing our workforce not burning them out. Therefore, encourage them to go home on time at least three times a week and have a break for lunch, the results may speak for themselves.”

Author: Editorial Team

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