Half of employees prefer to discuss health issues with colleagues than loved onesAlmost half (49 percent) of UK employees admit they speak to colleagues about health concerns before sharing it with a partner or loved one, claims new research by Bupa Health Clinics. Stress, sleep, anxiety and weight problems are among the main concerns being discussed by employees at work, before confiding in those closest to home.  The new report found that 46 percent of employees prefer to talk about health with a colleague over a loved one. Many do so with good intentions with more than a third finding it easier to talk to a colleague as they are less likely to worry. Those working in media, marketing, IT, and HR were among those most likely to talk openly about their health in general at work. Stress tops the list of health issues discussed in the workplace, with those working in education and finance most likely to open up to colleagues about this subject rather than address them at home.

Dr Petra Simic, Medical Director, Bupa Health Clinics, says: “It’s good news that people are opening up about their health and wellbeing with colleagues and we’re not shying away from increasingly common concerns such as stress and anxiety. With us spending so much time at work, the research shows the positive impact employers can have on the health of their workplace. From creating a culture where people feel comfortable talking about their health through to offering them a health assessment, this will go a long way to creating a healthy and productive working environment.”

With health becoming an increasingly common topic of discussion in the workplace, 57 percent of employees said they would visit a GP at work if they had the option. Over a third also said they would book a health assessment if their employer provided access to medical benefits.

However, while three quarters of adults are willing to open up to colleagues about most health concerns, some topics remain off limits. Sexual health, testicular and prostate concerns and symptoms of breast cancer are the health areas least likely to be discussed at work.

And of those who prefer not to talk about health at work, over a fifth[3]said open plan offices that limited privacy are the reason why, while one in 10 found hot desking to be a barrier to discussing health at work.

The 10 most common concerns being discussed with colleagues over loved ones are:

  1. Stress
  2. Sleep
  3. Anxiety
  4. Weight
  5. A niggling symptom
  6. Female health e.g. smear, periods
  7. Smoking
  8. Sexual health
  9. Digestion
  10. Alcohol consumption
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