Workers under 30 are the most likely to suffer from stress and poor mental health in winter, with 55 per cent of this age group more stressed than usual in the season, compared to 49 per cent across all age groups.
New research has found 29 per cent of under 30s are more likely to be depressed in the winter months, compared to 21 per cent of all employees.
Three in 10 employees under-30 say their workplace makes it difficult to maintain good mental health, and a third of them see flexibleworking as the main solution to improving it through the winter.
In total, one in five – 22 per cent – of employees say their workplace environment is more stressful during winter, rising to 35 per cent among workers under 30. One in six – 16 per cent – of employees say that their workplace environment makes it difficult to maintain good mental health, rising to 29 per cent for under-30s employees.
Percentage of employees who would take the following action during winter
|All employees||Under-30s employees|
|Take annual leave for a week or more||26%||38%|
|Request part-working from home||17%||35%|
|Request flexible working hours||20%||32%|
|Pull a ‘sickie’||18%||28%|
|None of the above||45%||13%|
Canada Life Group Insurance, which sponsored the research, says this suggests that younger workers are more in tune with their mental health and the remedies to improve it; this is reinforced by the fact that younger workers are more likely to practice self-care. The research, based on over 1,000 employees conducted in February 2019, found 22 per cent under-30s employees say they are more likely to set time aside to practice self-care during winter, compared to just 8 per cent of employees over the age of 30.
Aside from flexible working, 20 per cent of workers under 30 also say that access to an employee assistance programme would help improve their wellbeing during the winter months.
Canada Life Group Insurance marketing director Paul Avis says: “The heightened levels of stress and depression experienced during the winter months will not disappear with the first flush of spring. The knock-on effect it could have to employee wellbeing throughout the rest of the year is likely to be highly detrimental.
“Getting up in the dark, going home in the dark, a longer commute, and the bad weather all play a part in reducing people’s feel-good factors, and so at this particular time of year organisations need to be ever more diligent when considering employee welfare, especially for younger workers.
“No one should suffer in silence in the workplace. Employers must take responsibility for employee wellbeing and create an open atmosphere which encourages engagement and emphasises the importance of staff wellbeing. Employee assistance programmes – provided alongside most group income protection products – can help communicate this message and provide practical support to those with longstanding or particularly acute problems.”