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NEWS: Employees turn to Google to manage work stress, says Bupa study

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Analysis of UK Google search data by Bupa shows that ‘work stress’ is one of the most frequent searches linked to stress.


In the study of top Google searches in 2016 in the UK, it found that work featured in five of the top ten year words for stress and work-life balance.

‘Time management’ yielded nearly 100,000 average yearly searches. ‘Work stress’; 34,440 searches and work-life balance; 23,160 searches. People also looked up how to ‘reduce work stress’ 12,720 times and ‘pressure at work’, 9,480 times.

Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa UK commented:Burnout is cited as one of the major reasons employees leave organisations.

 “A very natural response to work stress and a feeling that we have too much to do is to work longer in a bid to boost productivity, but spending longer on a project doesn’t always mean more is achieved. It is about the quality of time spent working: working five hours at hundred per cent efficiency is better than eight hours at fifty per cent efficiency.

“In recent years we have seen a focus amongst businesses to boost employee engagement and wellbeing by creating an open supportive environment for their people but our research shows that many employees are also looking to the internet to see help they can help themselves as well.”

Bupa says that the search terms for work stress spikes as people return from holidays.

Pressure at work is a common Google search term for stress, the study found

To manage the issue organisations can follow top tips to prevent stress:  

  1. Communicate with your team – make your employees feel valued and encourage a culture of openness. Managers should have constant open lines of communication with their employees about their wellbeing.
  2. Consider flexibility – employers can help to make sure jobs are flexible, considering individual circumstances. Where possible, they should consult with employees on any changes that are likely to affect them before they take place and encourage them to ask questions so that they feel involved.
  3. Learn more about stress relievers so you can point your team to extra support – get to know about more about stress and how to deal with it. It’s well known that meditation and mindfulness can help. Managers could direct employees towards mindfulness apps or podcasts
  4. Look for early signs of stress – some common early signs of stress are poor concentration, low mood, feeling overwhelmed and irritability. If you notice any of these signs in your team members, check in with them. It’s sometimes easier if you start the conversation. Use the power of “how are you?” – a simple but profound question if given the space it deserves.
  5. Lead by example – senior managers can also actively promote a healthy lifestyle themselves by having a good work-life balance, managing their working hours, using their full holiday entitlement and taking lunch breaks. 

The ‘Stress and work-life balance’ research was complied by marketing agency Mindshare, and commissioned by Bupa.

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