Employees Reach Boiling Point During Summer in the Welsh Capital

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The impact of a pressure-filled summer season is causing chronic workplace stress, or ‘burnout’ which has been noticed by 57% of UK wide professionals in the summer months. That’s according to the second Wellbeing Index Report from Westfield Health which analyses the state of the nation’s wellbeing at work and home.

The report highlights a sharp increase in worrying statistics including the rise of ‘leavism’, whereby employees work outside of contracted hours or whilst on annual leave. In Cardiff, 18% have been unable to take summer leave when needed and over a fifth (22%) of holiday time is spent worrying about work.

David Capper, CEO of health and wellbeing provider Westfield Health, commented,

“Employees in Cardiff are experiencing a vicious cycle of stress and anxiety that is having a detrimental impact on their wellbeing in the run up to, during and after they come back from their summer break, leaving them no time for vital recovery.

“63% of employees in Cardiff have suffered from summer workplace stress and it shows no sign of slowing down; since we released our first Wellbeing Index Report in April, the amount of overtime across the UK has increased by 23% and on average, employees have taken four days off for stress, anxiety or depression, rising to six days in Cardiff.”

This mounting pressure isn’t helped by the fact that well over a third (37%) of UK HR professionals surveyed say their workplace doesn’t do enough to prepare for staff holidays and the inevitable decrease in staff in the office over the summer months.

Mark Verstegen, founder and president of EXOS, a human performance company, explained the impact of stress and rising pressure on the body:

“Recovery is a critical yet often undervalued aspect of performing at a high level day after day. Whether physiological or psychological, stress creates heightened demand on the brain and body which can accumulate and lead to fatigue, injury and a decline in performance. A consistent recovery routine helps build resilience to stress so you can bounce back quickly when it hits.”

From the perspective of employees in Cardiff, increased workloads when colleagues are on holiday combined with busy summer social schedules mean personal wellbeing is suffering. In the lead up to the busy summer season, only 44% say they have spent satisfactory time with family in the past three months and over a fifth (22%) describe their mental health as ‘poor’.

Based on NHS guidelines, 18% admit they had not done anything in relation to their wellbeing in the last three months and only 36% had been physically active. The biggest concern for those in Cardiff over the last three months was lack of sleep (40%) followed by money (36%). Physical ill health and mental health also ranked as concerns.

On top of these worries, working parents in Cardiff have the added pressure of childcare and entertainment in the summer holidays: 80% of working parents in Cardiff agree that the workplace should be more supportive of parents who have additional childcare responsibilities.

David Capper added,

“The state of Cardiff workplace wellbeing is at boiling point, with 44% of employees saying their workplace culture does not successfully support them with their wellbeing.

“When thinking about how to avoid burnout and prioritise recovery time in the workplace, it can be tempting to just look at initiatives such as flexible working or working from home. But the answer also lies in workplace culture – there’s limited benefit in implementing strict rules on leavism if senior leaders aren’t visibly living, breathing and prioritising those values.

“Cultural change takes time and requires input from people across the organisation. When employees see leaders practicing what they preach, it creates the psychological permission to mirror that behaviour. Creating an open culture also allows employees to speak openly about how they’re feeling, allowing managers to identify issues early and avoid a situation escalating to burnout.”

To read the full Wellbeing Index Report visit westfieldhealth.com/wellbeingindex.