Canada Life 

Young workers struggling through winter months

Young workers struggling through winter months

One in five UK workers under 30 thinks access to an employee assistance programme would help improve their wellbeing during the winter months when conditions and motivation are challenging. 

A survey from Canada Life Group Insurance found 55 per cent of workers under 30 are more stressed than usual during the winter months, while 29 per cent are more likely to be depressed than their older colleagues.

Paul Avis, marketing director of Canada Life Group Insurance, said: "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."

Some 29 per cent of employees under-30 said their workplace makes it difficult to maintain good mental health.

Mr Avis said employers must take responsibility for employee wellbeing and create an open atmosphere which encourages engagement and emphasises the importance of staff wellbeing. 

He said: "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."

Peter Chadborn, director at Plan Money, said small businesses in particular were facing a dilemma: "They are very aware of the importance of wellness and overall happiness in their workforce, but they have limited budgets."

Mr Chadborn said although there were programmes available with group schemes, they often fell in the "nice to have" category. 

He added: "However, it is good for this to be promoted as it may serve as a catalyst to make employers think more about this area of managing their business."

Flexible working was cited by employees as the most helpful initiative companies could bring in, but some 20 per cent agreed an assistance programme would be useful to have in place. 

Mr Avis said: "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."

The survey interviewed 1,002 full and part-time employees in February 2019.