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  • 69% blame their bosses for increasing stress in the workplace
  • And nearly half say stress caused by management has led to long-term absence
  • MetLife believes managers need support to address stress in the workplace

Management behaviour is contributing to rising stress in the workplace with employees blaming their own bosses for adding to the pressures they feel, new research* from MetLife shows.

The study shows 69% of employees say that the behaviour of managers in their organisation has increased stress and that the rising stress is having a major impact on company performance.

Around 45% of employees say that stress caused by management has led to staff in their organisation taking extended time off.  This in turn increases costs and affects productivity as well as impacting other workers who take on an increased workload.

Government data** estimates that around 35% of all work-related ill-health is caused by stress and that stress accounts for 43% of all working days lost to ill-health – the equivalent of 9.9 million working days a year at an average of 23 days per case.

The impact of management behaviour is a drain on the effort and investment that organisations are putting into enhancing health and wellness at work and can impact the value staff place on these services as they see their company’s leaders behaving counter to the culture organisations are trying to create.

The research shows, organisations which invest in enhancing health and wellness are seeing benefits and employees welcome the services on offer.. More than three-quarters (76%) of employees who receive free counselling on stress issues through their Group Income Protection benefits say the services are valuable, and 59% say Employee Assistance Programmes help improve their health and wellness.

Tom Gaynor, Employee Benefits Director at MetLife UK said: “Complaining about your boss is not unusual but clearly when the behaviour of management is increasing stress in the workplace there is an issue to be addressed beyond trivial moaning.

“It is very worrying that nearly half of all employees say management behaviour has meant people taking time off because of stress in their organisation.

“Some stress is good and of course most people need clear goals and challenges to perform at their best but when it is causing extended absences action needs to be taken. Managers should be ensuring stress is tackled before it becomes a problem, not contributing to it.”

The research shows younger workers are more likely to suffer the impact of management behaviour on stress: 75% of 18 to 24-year-olds say bosses have contributed to stress in their workplace.

MetLife offers its own ProActive Protection Group Income Protection policy which takes a proactive approach to preventing absences through online and telephone wellness platforms, and helping employees who are unwell to return to work (where appropriate).  It aims to understand employee health issues before they become serious problems and provide support to enable employees to return to work more quickly. The return is managed sensitively and in a way which is sustainable, balancing the needs of both the employer and the employee.

Employees can access a range of health and wellbeing information and other support services via MetLife’s Wellbeing Hub,use the online portal to calculate their own ‘Health Age’ and receive personalised health and wellness information. There is also a comprehensive 24×7 employee assistance programme providing practical life management support, guidance on health issues and counselling services, including if necessary access to five face – to- face counselling sessions.

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