What Work Worries Are Keeping Employees up at Night?

PerkboxAs a workforce, we’re stressed out, there’s no denying it. According to PwC, one in three UK employees are working with anxiety, depression or stress. Mental health problems affect around one in six people in any given week. It also doesn’t help that as a nation, the UK has one of the worst work-life balances in Europe.

In fact, together – stress, depression and anxiety, are said to represent the second most prevalent self-reported illness caused or made worse by work in the UK. All you need to do is look at the trends in online searches to illustrate this point. Top searches with the keywords ‘boss’ and ‘work’ are particularly worrying.

But what are our biggest worries and what can we do to help deal with them?

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How many working days in a year

In the UK ‘how many working days in a year?’ was searched a stunning 1,237,000 times in 2017. Worrying, right? Perhaps more so given that the UK has some of the most generous paid annual leave entitlements in the world – or so many people believe. To avoid this, we must remember the key to success is to work smarter, not harder.

Working smarter means prioritizing your work and concentrating on the tasks that will make the most difference. In addition to this, taking time to consider the things you love about your job, and then asking your boss if you can do more of them is important. We spend a third of our lives at work, it’s essential that we learn to embrace it.

And if that job just isn’t for you, then move on. There are plenty more out there.

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How to impress your boss

It’s clear that there’s an underlying worry among today’s employees around ‘how to impress your boss’. This phrase was searched a huge 18,500 times on average monthly in 2017. This links well with the well known ‘presenteeism’ syndrome whereby employees feel the need of being present at work for more hours than required or when they’re feeling unwell, as a manifestation of insecurity.

To combat this, as employees, we need to take back control and focus on our performance as individuals, not our boss’ perception of our performance. Key to this is communicating our efforts at the right level to our bosses. If we want to impress our boss, we must be proactive by doing things such as scheduling one to one goal-setting meetings. This will allow us to find out exactly what our bosses want and allow us to perform at our best at all times. Stop wasting energy wondering what your boss desires and instead ask him/her directly.

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How to prove your boss is bullying you

With the emergence of the #MeToo Movement and an increased focus on creating a safe working environment for employees, it’s not surprising that ‘how to prove your boss is bullying you?’ is a question increasingly on the lips of UK employees within the UK – with searches increasing from 1,200 searches (2015) to 4,100 (2016) and 33,500 (2017) in the UK.

But what can we do if we feel we’re working in a toxic environment? Firstly, report and communicate the incidents to those that should be aware. Sometimes when we’re working in a toxic environment we become paranoid and question if we’re being overly sensitive to what’s happening or if the culture is actually toxic.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to bring your concerns to HR, having documentation such as proof of incidents should help. Finally, change your mindset. Learn to switch off from work, compartmentalize the bad energy and disengage with the negativity in your workplace by finding hobbies to do after work. This can be as simple as going for a coffee with your best friend once a week.

From an employer perspective, it’s important to remember that creating a safe working environment is not only about hitting the targets but about letting people be themselves and feel comfortable expressing their opinion. Ultimately, it’s on you to allow or prohibit a toxic work culture from emerging in your workplace.

The reality is, we will always have certain worries regarding our work. The key is managing these worries so that they don’t become all consuming and we wind up googling them during our free time. At this point, they become an obsession.

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