Health and well-being at work CIPD Survey 2020 

2020 will prove to be an interesting year for the workplace.

Not least because the coronavirus lockdown has resulted in many of us adapting our homes into workplaces.

The impact of the coronavirus lockdown on people’s mental health and well-being is still unknown. As a result, the CIPD health and well-being at work survey 2020 will make for interesting reading, especially when we are able to compare it to next year’s results.

You can download it yourself in the link above, but we’ve looked at the highlights from this, the CIPD’s 20th annual survey. 

You can also compare this year’s results with our review of the 2019 health and wellbeing survey.

Presenteeism and ‘leaveism’

Exploring the trends and practices in health, well-being and absence management in UK workplaces, over 1,000 people were surveyed – representing 4.5 million employees. 

It was found that, while the instances of sickness absence had fallen to an all-time low (5.8 days per employee, per year), presenteeism (working when unwell) was at an all-time high.

89% of those surveyed said that they had seen presenteeism in the workplace.

There was also a rise in the instances of what’s being termed as ‘leaveism’; when people use their holiday time to work. 73% had seen examples of it in the workplace.

Unfortunately, only a third of organisations are taking steps to discourage these unhealthy practices.

Long-term absence

The most common causes for long-term absence were found to be:

  • Mental ill-health (59%)
  • Musculoskeletal injuries (53%)
  • Stress (46%)
  • Acute medical conditions (46%)
  • Minor illness (22%)

Stress and mental health at work

While people face mounting levels of stress during lockdown, stress-related issues had already been highlighted as an everyday pressure for UK workers.

Over a third of respondents (37%) said that stress-related absence had increased over the past year.

Heavy workload was recognised as the top cause of stress (60%), closely followed by management style (41%).

60% of people surveyed reported an increase in common mental health conditions among employees.

Line managers and well-being

It’s encouraging to hear that more employers are recognising their role in looking after employees’ health and well-being, with many organisations developing well-being strategies. 

Possibly because of this, people now believe line managers;

  • buy into the importance of well-being (58%)
  • can have sensitive discussions and signpost people to expert help (31%)
  • can spot the early warning signs of mental ill-health (25%)

What does this mean to you and your business?

While the research found that employee absence levels were the lowest recorded in twenty years, this doesn’t necessarily mean employers can assume their people are healthier at work.

Organisations need to understand what drives their employees’ behaviour, attendance and well-being.

The survey focused on some key insights that businesses can focus on to positively affect their employees’ health and well-being.

Leadership Culture

Create supportive leadership cultures where senior leaders lead by example

Training Managers

By training people managers more effectively, they can confidently point employees in the right direction for the support they need.

Occupational Health

Using occupational health services can address long-term absence, promote good health and reduce sickness.

A Comfortable Environment

Provide people with an environment where they feel comfortable and safe to talk about their health issues.


Nine out of ten organisations reported positive outcomes from their health and well-being activities.

To understand why it’s so important to invest in your employees’ health and well-being, contact the team at Fusion today.

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Categories: Absence ManagementHealth & WellbeingMental HealthOccupational Health

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