Half of UK workers suffering mental health issues

Declining mental health in the workplace is costing businesses, as workers cite both external and internal factors as cause.

A survey commissioned by UiPath found that half of UK workers (50%) have experienced mental health problems in the last three years, with 41% having taken time off work in the last twelve months as a result.


The report, which surveyed full-time employees in the UK, shows that the mood is being heightened by a number of external factors, namely issues such as the rising cost of living, rising inflation, the energy crisis, and the impending recession.


"While macroeconomic issues are impacting the workforce and their mental health, it is vitally important that businesses support their workers in the current climate,” says Mark Gibbs, President, EMEA at UiPath. “To ensure workers feel happy in their roles, there are steps organisations can take to ensure employee engagement. For example, automation technology can help free up employee time to enable employees to focus on creative tasks that directly contribute to the success of their teams and their organisation. This is just one way businesses can ensure their staff remains invested in their organisations’ success.”


Work related factors impacting employee happiness


The research uncovered repetitive and mundane tasks in the day-to-day roles of workers are impacting their overall mood. With up to 48% of UK workers saying these types of tasks are detrimental to their mental health, businesses are risking staff leaving for roles offering more creativity. In fact, 52% of workers find themselves considering other job opportunities when doing repetitive tasks compared to creative ones, which raises cause for concern given organisations are already finding it difficult to attract and retain talent in the current job market.


Most workers in the region cite negative feelings around having to do repetitive tasks, with these duties making employees feel bored (39%), unstimulated (35%), and unproductive (25%). Above and beyond the external factors impacting them, workers were asked what would make them happier in their current roles, with 36% wanting a more creative workplace, and 35% wanting to be involved in more creative tasks. Examples of repetitive tasks in the workplace include clerical and typing tasks, reporting and invoicing.


Positively, the same respondents believe change could be on the horizon thanks to automation. When asked which issues, if any, they believed could be solved in the next five years by automation freeing up worker time (allowing employees to spend this extra time on solving the issues that matter), over a third (36%) stated the cost of living crisis, 19% believe we will see more stable and affordable energy supplies, and 21% believed financial poverty could benefit.


“Skills shortages aren’t a new challenge however, the changes we’ve seen over the past two years have accelerated the issue for businesses. Retaining staff then needs to focus on more than just opportunity, it’s about offering creativity and purpose, while providing individuals the chance to enforce change at a higher level. While by no means a silver bullet solution, by freeing up worker time and creating improved efficiencies through software automation, these businesses can be more responsive to the macroeconomic challenges currently facing the UK. Automation will transform companies of today to workforces and workplaces of tomorrow – leading companies have already started this,” Gibbs added.


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