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Stress in the UK workplace is ignored

Workforce in the dark

August 2009 - A worryingly high number of employees (91%) are stressed at work, with around seven in ten (71%) workers unable to raise their concerns with management.

With the economy still suffering from the global financial crisis, employees' stress levels are being affected predominately by increased workloads, credit crunch worries and reduced headcount in their company.

Some stark differences between how men and women are reacting to the situation were also revealed. Just under a third of men (31%) are worried that they will lose their job, compared to around one quarter of women (26%). Men are also more stressed about the general economic outlook - 36% compared with 28%

Top causes of workplace stress

  Men Women
Increasing workloads 57% 55%
General economic situation 36% 28%
Job insecurity 31% 26%
Not replacing people that leave the company 31% 30%
Having little confidence in their business leaders 27% 22%

Of those professionals that brought stress levels up with their managers, 7% said they were ignored and only 6% said it led to concrete measures being taken to help them mange the situation.

These figures show very clearly too few organisations are attacking stress effectively. Many employees are shouldering the stress emanating from a number of sources without the help of their managers. Interestingly, men are feeling the strain more than women as they worry about their jobs and career prospects.

Neil Wilson, managing director of Badenoch & Clark, comments: "While some stress is a normal part of work, excessive stress reduces productivity and general wellbeing. Most employers would agree that it makes business sense to avoid excessive stress levels building up in the workplace. "

"By refusing to deal with such a crucial employee engagement issue, businesses are risking not only the health of their workers, but the quality of the work they deliver and the overall morale of their organisation. Businesses need to address the problem and provide a platform to discuss these issues openly.

"Being on the look out for signs of stress amongst staff is a good starting point. It's then important to take time to talk to staff on a one to one basis and identify the main sources of stress. Helping your staff create a balanced schedule by breaking large projects into small steps can be another way of making work more manageable."