This week in the Thinkbox, we’d like to asses the status of emotional well-being in the workplace.
António Horta-Osorio made headlines in the financial world this week by taking an advised leave of absence from his high-pressure role as CEO of Lloyds Banking Group due to stress and fatigue. Many media commentators have engaged in doubting speculation about Mr. Horta-Osorio’s ability to ‘come back from this’ and also more worryingly, many have questioned his own ability carry out the functions of CEO in the future.(1 & 2) The results of a Guardian Poll show that the majority of respondents feel unsympathetic towards Mr.H-O as opposed to selecting “Yes – stress affects all of us in different ways .” A quick glance through the various social media channels also throws up many unsympathetic and some down-right stigmatising reactions and comments.
Personal opinions about the banking sector aside, this reaction does pose the question about the level of emotional openness that people feel is acceptable in the workplace.
All the research, guidance and advice tells us that unchecked workplace stress can impact on a person’s resilience, mental health and overall well-being. From our own research, we know that people would be reluctant to disclose an actual mental health diagnosis to colleagues and employers but can this reluctance also be applied to discussing general stress and pressures related to work?
Would your employer and colleagues be supportive if you opened up about the pressures your under? Would this sympathy be extended if you decided to take action or a break to prioritise your mental well-being?
And for employers, are there different standards of empathy and support applied to differing levels of workplace seniority?
Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.