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UK Workers Reportedly Disengaged Yet Content

stress man
15 June 2021 | Updated 17 June 2021

Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report finds that the UK and Western Europe have the lowest employee engagement levels globally at just 11 per cent.

However, the region’s employees assessed themselves as having high life evaluations, with 55 per cent thriving, and low negative emotions compared with employees in many other world regions. In fact, Western European employees saw a decline in stress and anger, no change in sadness, and an increase of only three per cent for worry.

Globally, employee engagement decreased by two percentage points from 2019 to 2020, and Gallup estimates that low employee engagement costs the global economy $8.1 trillion. In contrast to Western Europe’s low engagement levels, Eastern Europe’s levels of engagement rose seven per cent from 2019 to 2020, the largest regional increase in the world.


Pandemic-Affected Stress Level Diversity


Across Western Europe, working women were three per cent more engaged than working men, while they also reported lower daily stress in 2020  than in 2019 by 6 per cent, possibly due to supportive social safety nets in many European countries, such as well-developed social systems that helped to prevent some job loss and unemployment. 

The global workforce reported higher worry, stress, anger and sadness in 2020 than in the previous year. The largest increases in daily worry globally, by 12 per cent, occurred in Eastern Europe, while the percentage of younger employees in Eastern Europe experiencing daily anger doubled from 2019 to 2020. Negative emotions such as worry, stress, sadness and anger were lower in the U.K. and Germany than in Italy, Spain and France. 

Not only is it clearly important to monitor employee wellbeing, but addressing mental health in the workplace should always be a consideration for any organisation that wants to be positively represented across the board. Unlike the commonplace first aiders, mental health is often not considered vital, despite its proven effect on productivity individually and in teams. Stephen Peal is the Managing Director of PPSPower and has recently become a qualified Mental Health First Aider through MHFA England. We spoke to him about the qualification and the importance of mental health first aid in the workplace.



Picture: a regional breakdown showing the percentage of workers who experienced stress


“The relationship between work and life has taken on new meaning this past year. Global worry, stress, sadness, and anger have been trending up the past decade,” said Pa Sinyan, Managing Partner for Europe. “Even before the pandemic, the new workforce was asking for a workplace that would improve their overall life and support their wellbeing. Organisations are in a unique position to improve lives and performance simultaneously.” 

France and the U.K. were among the highest in Western Europe in terms of their employees not feeling respected at work. However, this is still lower than most Eastern European countries. Thirty-two percent of employees in Lithuania, for example, do not feel respected at work.

In the U.K., 60 per cent of workers consider themselves thriving, higher than Germany at 59 per cent, France at 42 per cent, Spain at 42 per cent, and Italy at 41 per cent — although this was lower than the Nordic countries, which averaged 74 per cent.

Levels of thriving during the pandemic increased from 41 to 44  per cent in Eastern Europe, with Europe overall stronger than the world-average thriving level, 32 per cent. Last week we highlighted a study of 1,000 UK office workers, conducted by online printer instantprint, that also noted current job satisfaction levels of those employed within the UK, as well as examining what employers could do in a bid to retain their restless workforce.  

When it comes to people and culture, employee engagement is one of the core pillars of a thriving workplace. Last year we interviewed David Callaghan of MIT Ventures who discussed why it's crucial for FM businesses, the methods for supporting proper engagement and how organisations can benefit from a happier, healthier and more productive workplace whilst saving time and money.

Picture: a man on his laptop concentrating in a relaxed position on a sofa.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 15 June 2021


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