According to new research, the pressure to put on a brave face, or ‘Pleasanteeism’, is masking mental health challenges in the workplace.

A new report from Lime has found that over half (51 percent) of UK workers agree that they feel under pressure to put on a brave face in front of colleagues.

Not only this, but a quarter (25 percent) of respondents are worried about being the best version of themselves when they return to the workplace, and one in five (19 percent) are concerned as to whether their stress is visible to others.

This has led to a resilience problem, the report finds, with four in ten feeling less resilient now than they did before the pandemic, and 26 percent of respondents feeling that they are not coping at work.

With recent research suggesting that Gen Z has been hit hardest by the economic impact of COVID-19, the report highlights this lack of resilience rises among young people, with 43 percent of women aged 16-24 and 49 percent of young men aged 16-24 feeling less resilient now than before the pandemic.

‘Pleasanteeism’ has also been shown to be more prevalent among women than men.

Over half (56 percent) of women, as opposed to under half (45 percent) of men, stated that they feel they ought to put on a brave face for their colleagues, rising dramatically to 61 percent among young women aged 16-24.

Worryingly, the report suggests that businesses are headed for what appears to be a mental health crisis, with less than one in five (16 percent) respondents feeling that their mental health is very well supported at work.

Employees are looking for more from their bosses, with 42 percent agreeing that they expect their employer to do more, and 40 percent admitting that they would take action and look for a new job if their employer didn’t do so.

Shaun Williams, CEO & Founder of Lime Global Ltd, commented:

The past 18 months has had a huge impact on people’s lives, including on their mental health and resilience.

The long-term repercussions of the pandemic are likely to be felt for years to come, and it’s important we act now to be aware of and prioritise both our own mental health and that of those around us.

The research also explores the way in which employers can tackle this growing crisis, with workers stating they would welcome initiatives such as mindfulness about work/life balance (25 percent), more flexible working hours (22 percent), and mental health days off work (20 percent).

Commenting on these suggestions to change work culture, Reeva Misra, CEO of healthtech start-up, Walking on Earth said:

By putting wellbeing at the heart of business and providing wellbeing support bespoke to each employees’ needs, companies can build workplaces centred around emotional resilience and genuine care.

By helping employees live well, we will be able to create companies that thrive and reduce stress levels for all employees.

We must take the important lessons of the pandemic and build a new, more positive paradigm of work together.

*In order to obtain these results, Lime Global Limited surveyed 2,132 UK workers between 06.05.21 and 11.05.21.





Megan McElroy is a second year English Literature student at the University of Warwick. As Editorial Intern for HRreview, her interests include employment law and public policy. In relation to her degree, her favourite areas of study include Small Press Publishing and political poetry.