06 November 2014
Employees are more stressed than ever, with only one third actually looking forward to going to work and 1/4 worried about job security.
Several recent studies indicate that employees are more stressed than ever.
A survey carried out for TUC found that only a third of employees look forward to going to work and painted a picture of increasing stress within the workplace.
Another survey carried out by YouGov for charity Mind also found high levels of stress among workers. Over half of the respondents considered themselves stressed and said that it affected their sleep (53%), physical health (27%), appetite (22%) and personal relationships (20%). The worrying findings also highlight that many workers turn to substances to combat stress, with 11% smoking and 57% drinking alcohol to help them relax.
The poll found that the main causes of workplace stress were:
Almost a third said they wouldn’t tell their line manager they were stressed and almost all (95%) of the respondents who had taken a day off due to stress gave a different reason for their absence.
A certain amount of stress in short bursts can be helpful to productivity, but if the pressures of work get too much, it can affect the way staff behave in addition to affecting their performance. Research from the Institute of Leadership and Management, which surveyed 1,600 managers, uncovered a range of unethical behaviours in the workplace. The top ten listed by the respondents were:
While the TUC survey found that stress was more of an issue in large businesses with over 1,000 staff, it doesn’t mean that employees in smaller business aren’t affected too. The Health and Safety Executive estimates that workplace stress costs £3.7 billion each year, so it’s not something to be taken lightly.
Stress will affect people in different ways, so it’s not necessarily easy to identify, particularly if many will not tell you. However, possible signs of stress to watch out for include:
Low levels of stress within your business can result in a happier and more productive workforce, which can only benefit your company. Here are some simple things you can do:
For more information, take a look at the ACAS guide on how to manage stress at work.