Workers 'more stressed' now

February 16, 2012, 4:59 PM GMT+0

57% British workers cite higher unpaid workloads in past year; 27% say drinking is way to cope

Nearly half of British adult workers are more or much more stressed now than 12 months ago, our poll for workplace information and software firm Croner (Wolters Kluwer) has found.

  • 48% of British workers said that they were more stressed, or much more stressed, now than 12 months ago
  • 57% cited higher unpaid workloads, and 45% 'performance pressures' as the key reasons behind their stress
  • 34% said that the need to work longer hours was pushing their stress levels up
  • While 33% said that pay freezes in their company were also stressing them out

Coping with stress

When asked how they cope with stress, British workers said that eating more and drinking more were common, while becoming less friendly towards family, friends and colleagues were also cited as symptoms of people feeling workplace pressure.

  • 31% said that workplace stress would make them likely to eat more
  • 27% said the same about drinking alcohol
  • 31% said that they become less friendly towards colleagues, while 28% said that they become less friendly towards friends and family
  • 16% said that they were more likely to take sick days if they were feeling stressed at work
  • While 15% said that work stress would likely see them spending more time at work doing personal things, such as surfing the Internet, making personal phone calls or taking longer lunches

Amy Paxton, a senior employment consultant at Croner, says that "the fact that 48% of the workers we surveyed say they are more stressed as a result of work now than they were a year ago should be a real wake-up call for employers…they cannot afford to have such high levels of stress and the associated difficulties it can cause in their organisations."

She continued, "It’s really important that employers are absolutely clear about the effect the performance of their organisation is having on their workforce.

Working climate

"Lack of communication or lack of transparency often creates an absence of trust and can undermine the relationship between managers and employees. This sets the scene for employee insecurity and dissatisfaction, too often resulting in higher stress levels."

Stress can be reduced by improving working conditions, restructuring jobs and allowing more flexible working arrangements," Paxton emphasised. Indeed, just 8% of workers said that they are likely to work flexibly when stressed at work, the same poll found.

Paxton adds, "A supportive work ethos and a climate in which staff are encouraged to openly discuss their concerns can also help."

Total poll sample size was 2,133 British adults of which 1,268 were workers

Croner has launched an employee assistance programme service for small and medium sized organisations in association with Right Management.

As part of this service there is a ‘day one’ intervention programme, which aims to help employees suffering from stress-related issues to return to work, or stay in work.

See the survey details and full results