Voice of the Employee

A survey commissioned by Lenstore reveals just how much of an impact our careers have on our physical and mental health. The results show how we think COVID will affect health and safety in the workplace and what our employers could be doing more of to improve safety.

Everyone’s working environment is different, whether you’re working behind a desk five days a week or on a building site, we all have the right to feel that our health and safety is taken seriously. 39% of Brits said they are concerned about their mental and physical health being put at risk at work, with respondents taking an average of 3.5 off each year due to an illness caused by their job.

1 in 10 people in the UK have actually taken time off work because of a career-related illness, with stress and anxiety taking the top two positions of reasons why.

The most stressed-out cities

When exploring the impact on our mental health, these are the top three cities whose respondents said their careers cause them the most stress and depression:

Rank Stress Depression
1 Liverpool – 75% Manchester – 50%
2 Brighton – 50% Plymouth – 50%
3 Bristol – 50% Southampton – 33%

20% of employees from Belfast admitted to taking time off work in the past year due to physical and mental illnesses, followed by Newcastle (17%) and Birmingham (13%).

Glasgow is the top city for employees with the lowest number of sick days caused by their job at 0.5 in the past year. This is then followed by Edinburgh at 1.5 days.

How employers in the UK can improve health and safety in the workplace

23% of the UK believe creating a culture where employees can be open and honest is the best way to improve health and safety at work. This was followed by taking health and safety more seriously (22%).

When looking at 14 different industries, those in the Science and Pharmaceuticals (30%), Legal (24%) and Travel & Transport (22%) industries do not feel their employers take their health seriously.

Those who work in Public Services have also admitted to taking an average of 39.8 days off work in the past year due to an illness caused by their job, this was followed by Healthcare workers who have taken 28 days off  – eight times more than the average person.

The impact of COVID-19

As a country, we are faced with unprecedented times, with normality still a long way off. The survey asked respondents how they felt the virus would have an impact on health and safety in the workplace, with 15% saying they think it will actually have a negative effect due to companies taking health and safety to the extreme.

However, 29% did think it may have a positive effect, believing that health and safety will be taken more seriously.

Roshni Patel, BSc (Hons) MCOptom, Professional Services Manager at Lenstore said:  “We all have the right to feel that our mental and physical health is well looked after in our place of work, and whilst not every workplace is perfect, we want to shine a light on how employees across the country feel.”

“There can be simple fixes that companies can implement to make their employees feel more supported, from the correct equipment to alleviate any back issues or eye strain, to simply communicating policies more frequently. There is no doubt that COVID-19 will change health and safety in the workplace and it’s vital that employers take this seriously to make everyone feel safe today and in the future”.

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