Could we be seeing the start of new risk exposures for sectors that have embedded hybrid working practices?

By Jon Guy

Businesses are facing a looming workplace stress crisis despite a widespread move to hybrid working, which seems to have done little to ease employees’ concerns.

Jon Guy

Jon Guy

A study published last month (March 2023) by digital payment provider Equals Money  found that 82% of UK workers said they suffer from physical pain due to their stress levels at work.

It also found that the majority (88%) of office workers suffer from some form of physical pain at work, such as back, neck or joint pain. Meanwhile, over a third (36%) claimed that pain distracts them from their job.

Over 1,500 workers were questioned for the report, with 90% saying they felt stressed at work and a further 18% saying this stress was constant.

The study’s findings create a growing issue for employers – and their insurers with them.

Exactly 60% of respondents revealed that workplace stress had caused them to take time off, while three quarters (76%) said workplace stress has made them want to look for a new job.

Bye-brid working? 

The revelations of Equals Money’s report come as the debate over the impact of hybrid working in the insurance industry continues.

For many insurers and brokers, along with businesses of all sizes, the move to a hybrid system is now ingrained. The view has been that, for staff at least, the ability to work from their home would reduce issues around stress and increase productivity.

However, there have been growing concerns that, far from reducing stress levels, staff fears around being viewed as not working hard enough are making them extend working hours – therefore increasing stress levels.

A shift to home working has also seen staff no long able to access the support services and equipment that had been taken for granted prior to the pandemic.

The ability for managers to assess the wellbeing of their teams is also reduced by the use of video meetings, which are far from as effective as those conducted in person.

The latest study sems to back the concerns of many that hybrid working may come with new risks – and therefore new exposures for businesses.

Within the industry, brokers say the move to hybrid working by insurers has seen service levels fall significantly and many are eagerly awaiting the publication of the Biba survey into service levels, which the trade body hopes will become an annual litmus test for the sector and its performance.