Most managers say they have seen signs of declining employee health in recent months as many struggle to access NHS services, new research has revealed.
A study by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), which surveyed more than 1,100 leaders, found that seven in 10 (70%) reported increased stress or anxiety among workers.
The professional body for managers discovered that nearly three in five (59%) of those polled have seen worsening health among their workforces, as well as increasingly severe physical and mental health conditions.
Half (50%) also report an increase in the number of workers taking sick leave or leaving employment because of poorer mental or physical health, with almost the same percentage (47%) seeing a rise in absenteeism as workforces attempt to access NHS services.
This concern was greater in the public sector than in the private sector, at 31% and 25% respectively. However, managers in the private sector and in SMEs have experienced a greater increase than those in the public sector in requests from staff who wish to add or extend private medical care within their employment package.
Anthony Painter, director of policy and external affairs at CMI, said: “Safeguarding the health and wellbeing of their teams is a growing priority for people managing others. At a time of labour shortages, skilled leaders know that supporting people through bouts of ill health is vital. Flexible working, mental health first-aiders and an empathic approach are among the best tools available to business leaders to help their staff navigate a challenging time.
“Flexible working can enable teams to better manage their time, reduce absenteeism, and reduce stress, including those with caring responsibilities, as well as mental or physical health issues. It’s time that employers took the lead and offered flexible working as a right.”