According to new statistics, there has been a mass increase in employee demand for health and mental health support as workers struggle with work-related stress and burnout.

The number of UK workers accessing confidential employee mental health support services has risen by 155 per cent, data from HIVE360 shows.

This comes as previous research also showed a general trend of employees increasingly reaching out for support with around two in three GPs reporting they have seen an increase in people seeking medical advice over the last three months.

As such, employers are being warned to keep a close eye on staff. In particular, they have been urged to look-out for signs of  ‘technostress’ which can lead to anxiety, burnout and depression. 

David McCormack, CEO of HIVE360, explained further:

Workers are under unprecedented pressure to maintain productivity and efficiency.

This is triggering a number of worrying mental and emotional issues from the stress and negative psychological impact of so much online working and virtual meetings, which is still more than ever, despite the return to the office for many, and the trend of hybrid working.

This means that there is not just the risk of stress and general burnout, but the specific issue of technostress.

Mr. McCormack continued to warn that this problem could be set to be exacerbated by talent shortages, difficulty hiring and the struggle to retain staff amid the Great Resignation.

As such, the study outlines key steps employers can take to support staff in preventing and overcoming technostress, including:

  1. Assessing the risk: Employers should get a clear picture of the current situation through tracking how much extra time is spent on digital tools, especially outside of work hours, providing an indication of whether employees are struggling.
  2. Raising awareness: Ensuring employees know all the signs, causes and dangers of technostress.
  3. Encouraging work-life balance: To avoid technostress, employees should be encouraged to switch off from work and disconnect from work, allowing them to be happier, healthier and more productive.
  4. Training: Providing sufficient, accessible resources and training for technology and mental health awareness for managers is key. 
  5. Reviewing processes and procedures: Adjusting and re-designing workdays to avoid unnecessary workload, especially in the home-based working model. This will help to consider external stressors and factors that may not have impacted procedures and policies prior to COVID-19. 
  6. Reducing unnecessary communication: Striving to minimise unnecessary communication and eliminating the expectation that people will respond all the time, helping to reduce the associated stress.