Legal and General: Companies should cover workaholic Brits with medical insurance

28 September 2007
Britain is a nation of stressed-out workers, with one in four never taking a break from work and 7% never going on holiday, according to a new study.

Legal and General research looked into the health anxieties of over 2,000 people, including 942 full time workers as part of an ongoing study of UK workers’ health concerns with a view to understanding the causes of work-related stress.

The research concluded that almost one in four (23%) of the full time employees surveyed is not happy with their work-life balance; the primary health concern is a lack of exercise with almost half (49%) worrying that they could do more. This is followed by 42% who fail to get enough sleep, 38% who panic about being overweight and 33% who feel stressed by their daily routine.

Unsurprisingly senior management tend to push themselves the hardest and are the least likely to take breaks from work, with 29% working through the day, compared to 16% of people in non-managerial roles. A further 12% of senior managers say that they don’t take holidays from work, compared to a national average of 5%.

Dr John Delfosse, Company Medical Officer for Legal and General’s Group Protection business explains: “Work is very important to many people providing purpose, self-worth and fulfilment, but for some, particularly those with heavy work responsibilities, they may become absorbed in their daily routine and so do not take timeout for themselves during the day.

“This can lead to increased pressure and stress, which if prolonged may take its toll on a workers physical and mental wellbeing. This in turn may result in a range of health problems such as heart disease, back pain and gastrointestinal problems.”

Workers are being advised to try and take a short break, at least every three hours, whether that is going for a short walk, sitting down to eat a balanced meal or relaxing with a book or newspaper as it can promote a feeling of health and wellbeing as well as reduce stress.

Diane Buckley, Managing Director of Legal and General’s Group Protection business, adds: “The latest CBI’s annual absence and labour turnover survey highlighted that staff absence cost UK employers over £13bn last year. Although the majority of absence is short term, the average cost to the employer, including direct and indirect expenses is currently a staggering £800 per absent employee. So it is extremely important that employers ensure their employees do take timeout away from their work during the day to reduce the likely impact of staff absenteeism and in particular long term sickness.”

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