LONDON: Nearly half of British workers are at risk of burnout as the cost-of-living crisis adds to anxiety, with work-related stress costing the British economy £28 billion ($34 billion) last year, a study said Wednesday. The report, published by French insurer AXA and UK think tank CEBR, found that Britons took a total of 23.3 million sick days last year due to poor mental health.
Researchers quizzed 30,000 adults across 16 European, Asian and American nations. “Burnout and work-related stress is a significant issue for the UK economy,” the study concluded. Some 21 percent of Britons surveyed were classed as “struggling” or in emotional distress.
That compared with 17 percent in the United States, 14 percent in Japan and Ireland, 11 percent in Belgium and ten percent in China and France. In Britain, a further 26 percent of respondents were “languishing”, or not in a positive state of mind. “People in the UK are more likely to be struggling with their mind health compared to any other country surveyed,” the study added.
“This means almost half of the UK are currently not in a positive state of mental wellbeing and at risk of burning out, which is having a significant impact on the economy and businesses.” Britain’s cost-of-living crisis was a key contributor to work-linked anxiety, as soaring inflation slashes the value of salaries. Almost half of Britons surveyed felt “overwhelmed and uncertain” over the future.
Financial stress and concerns are costing UK businesses up to £6.2 billion alone in sick days and lost productivity, CEBR data also showed. Yet the study highlighted some improvement in the UK, with “a decline in the stigma associated with having a mental health condition” and an increase in respondents with “very good” mental health compared with the previous year.
AXA UK chief executive Claudio Gienal said it’s concerning that so many people in Britain are struggling with their mental health. “Our findings show that not only does this have an impact on these individuals, it also comes at a huge cost to the economy and society as a whole,” he said. “There are positive signs… but it’s clear that more needs to be done to support people at work and in their everyday life,” he added. – AFP