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Stress impacting on productivity for 34% of millennials, study reveals

Millennials feel most under pressure in the workplace, according to a survey released today by the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England, to mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (14th-20th May).

The UK’s biggest ever stress survey, conducted by YouGov, spoke to 4,619 people to understand the impact of stress on people’s health, relationships and working habits. The findings highlight a significant generational gap around workplace stress.

Millennials are feeling the pressure at work. Over a quarter of millennials (28%) state powering through stress is expected in their organisation’s culture, compared with just 12% of baby boomers. In addition, over a quarter of millennials (27%) often feel bothered by their stress levels during the working week as opposed to just 17% of baby boomers.

There is an increased spotlight on mental health awareness but on average, calculated across both generations, only 14% of people are comfortable speaking to a manager about their stress levels. This is despite a quarter of millennials (25%) saying they compromise their health to do their job, compared with 18% of baby boomers.

This generational divide is also highlighted through the impact of stress on workforce activity. Over a third of millennials (34%) have been less productive at work due to stress, versus only 19% of baby boomers.

Jaan Madan, workplace lead at Mental Health First Aid England, said, “In recent years, huge steps have been taken to improve mental health awareness across society, including in the workplace.

“However, today’s research commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation shows that more needs to be done to translate this awareness into action, with only 14% of both millennials and baby boomers feeling comfortable speaking to their managers about stress.

“Coping with stress in the workplace starts with being able to have a conversation with your manager, and in a mentally healthy organisation everyone should feel comfortable talking about stress. Which is why Mental Health First Aid England has launched the Address Your Stress Toolkit, a free practical resource to help employers and employees identify the sources and signs of stress and take steps to help reduce the impact.”  

Richard Grange, a spokesperson for the Mental Health Foundation, added, “The mental health impact of work can follow us home. A good job where we feel secure and supported can boost our mental health. But poor and insecure working conditions undermine good mental health.

“Millennials are more likely to have insecure contracts, low rates of pay and high entry-level workloads. The pressures they face in today’s employment market are very different to past generations.

“A degree, for example, was once considered the key to success. But that is no longer always the case. The more we understand about how experiences of work have changed – the less surprising it is they are experiencing high levels of stress.”

Managing partner for talent at Deloitte LLP, Emma Codd, commented, “Today’s survey findings indicate that stress is a growing issue for millennials in the workplace and so, as employers, it’s important that we take action to create open and healthy workplace cultures.

“At Deloitte we want to empower our people to better support their own and others’ mental health. That’s why as part of our wellbeing strategy, we are sharing the ‘Address Your Stress’ toolkit with all of our people and also committed to train one in four of our senior leaders in Mental Health First Aid skills. With this approach we want to ensure that our people feel supported and that we can always provide an open environment where people feel comfortable talking about their mental health.”

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