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A quarter of employees suffer workplace bullying

Half feel they can’t talk to their manager about wellbeing issues

Over a quarter of people (28%) in the workplace suffer bullying and/or discrimination on issues such as gender, age or sexual orientation, a poll reveals. 

The WorkplaceWellbeing Census, conducted by Bupa, found women face significant challenges with over a third (34%) experiencing bullying or discrimination, compared to 22% of men.

Women are also more than four times more likely to suffer negatively from workplace gender discrimination than men (13% vs 3%).

The survey of 4,000 employees reveals that for employees who have suffered a negative impact on their wellbeing from bullying or discrimination at work in the last three years, bullying specifically is by far the most common cause, affecting 44% of people.

Almost half (48%) of employees feel they cannot talk to their manager about their wellbeing issues for fear of being judged and 50% choose to handle issues on their own.

More than two fifths (42%) would not feel comfortable talking to management and a similar proportion (43%) currently don’t have access to wellbeing support services at work.

The research suggests there is a strong correlation between workplace happiness and comfort in talking to managers about problems. Half (51%) of employees who have discussed a wellbeing issue with their manager – work-related or not – reported it was a positive experience. 

Overall, almost one in four (23%) employees in the UK is struggling with poor wellbeing in a working week, with 72% citing workplace and mental health issues as key factors

Those working in transportation and distribution reported the highest proportion of poor wellbeing (31%), while employees working in education in the private sector seemed to have a better wellbeing compared to other industries (84%). 

Higher salaries (57%), better recognition for work (35%) and more manageable workloads (27%) were cited as ways in which workplace wellbeing can be improved. Colleagues (50%) and encouraging an inclusive work culture (25%) were other key factors found to have a positive impact on wellbeing in the last 12 months. 

David Hynam, Bupa Global & UK chief executive, said creating a positive working environment where employees are comfortable to bring their whole self to work, and being able to speak up if they experience any problems, is absolutely key to enabling people to thrive in the workplace. 

“I believe it’s particularly important for businesses to have a clear stance on inclusion. Having a code of conduct that clearly sets out that all colleagues are treated equally, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation or religion is one way to help everyone feel comfortable within the business and that discrimination and bullying has absolutely no place within the organisation,” he argued.