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The cost of living is the chief cause of worker stress and anxiety says survey

THE spiralling cost of living is the greatest cause of stress and anxiety for almost three quarters of workers, according to a new “wellbeing index”.

Laya Healthcare’s latest research finds the inflation crisis has infiltrated the workplace.

A staggering 85pc of employees who suffered anxiety in the last six months say rising prices and money worries are their greatest concerns.

For 71pc of workers, the biggest issue is the rise in living costs, followed by money worries, uncertainty about the future, and Ireland’s economy.

Job satisfaction and career prospects ranked much lower as concerns. The survey also shows people are rating work life balance on a par with salary when choosing a role.

Employee anxieties were higher in women, affecting two in five women, compared with one in four men.

Younger female employees are more likely than other staff to have suffered poor mental health in the past six months.

One in three business owners and HR leaders are very concerned about the mental health of employees, an increase of 18pc compared with six months ago.

The survey finds some workers are using money worries as an excuse to leave a job while others feel too scared to move.

More than a third of employees reported feeling concerned or anxious frequently or all the time.

This is a significant increase since research six months ago when the figure was 24pc.

“The timing of the 11pc jump is in line with the current cost of living crisis,” said Laya in a statement.

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“The impact of this is further borne out by 29pc of employees who self-reported their mental health as poor in the last six months with 23pc of this subset of employees having had suicidal thoughts.”

A significant number of employees have returned to the office in the last six months.

The survey says this has had mixed results.

Some 60pc of employees are back in the workplace full time, while one in four employees are choosing to work hybrid, and 15pc are choosing to work remotely full time.

On average, employees are working two to three days in the office and the rest of the week from home. They are most likely to have a choice of the days they are “on site”.

Hybrid workers are more likely to have had higher job satisfaction in the last six months, driven by a better work life balance, flexibility and less commuting.

“Despite emerging out of a once-in-a-generation disruption to working patterns and expectations, four in 10 companies don’t have a health and wellbeing strategy, and this falls to 38pc for mental health strategy,” said Sinead Proos, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Laya Healthcare.

“Our research shows a clear and sustained decline in employee mental health and employers need to take urgent action to provide supports tailored to their needs.”

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