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Stress At Work: A Growing Problem

New research from CABA, a charity that supports chartered accountants, has found that stress at work remains an enormous problem

Mental Health At Work

As we highlighted in a previous article, a report by the Birmingham Hospital Saturday Fund (BHSF) entitled “Breaking the Cycle” found that

  • A quarter of British workers had taken time off due to stress at work during the previous year
  • Two thirds of workers had had sleepless nights caused by stress at work
  • 50% of workers felt unable to talk to their employer about their work related stress.
  • The report described the growing problem of stress at work as a “time bomb”.

Furthermore, a report compiled by Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer called “Thriving at Work“, which was published on the 25th October 2017, found that 300,000 workers lose their jobs due to a mental health issue each year. The authors determined that this costs the UK economy between £74 billion – £99 billion per annum, of which £33 billion – £42 billion is borne by employers.

Stress At Work: The CABA Report

The new CABA report on stress at work found that:-

  • 36% of workers regularly think about leaving their job due to stress at work
  • 13% of employees took a “sickie” to enable them to cope with work related stress
  • 13% of workers feel stressed at work at least once a day
  • 80% of those in HR believe that work related stress is a valid reasons for taking a day off work, whilst 94% regarded it as a adequate reason. In contrast, most employees do not regard stress as a legitimate reason for taking time off work
  • 57% of employees would tell somebody about their work related stress, with 25% reporting it to their line manager/supervisor. However, 32% of workers would tell nobody, with over 55’s the least likely to tell anybody, and 25-34 year olds the most likely age group to reveal the problem to someone.

Laura Little, the Learning and Development Manager at CABA, stated in response to the findings of the report, that: “1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue every year, so it is reassuring to learn that HRs agree stress, depression and anxiety are all valid reasons for employees to call in sick. It’s extremely important for businesses to promote a supportive, non-judgmental ethos to encourage employees to take time off if they need it, and most importantly encouraging conversation if people are struggling. Our research shows that 80% of HRs agree that physical symptoms such as back or joint pain is an acceptable reason to call in sick, so it is a step in the right direction that mental ill health is being recognised in the same way. Mental ill health can have a profound effect on an employee’s ability to do their job. It can affect motivation, performance and relationships at work. The impact can be lessened by taking preventive measures to mitigate the risk of triggering such feelings and by putting support systems into place such as team meetings or one-to-ones. Setting an example from the top gives a clear message that mental health is an integral part of everyone’s wellbeing. We often take physical illness symptoms seriously so it is great to see mental ill health being treated equally, however if employees continue to keep quiet about their worries we will find ourselves in a vicious cycle. Therefore, action is needed to spread the supportive message, to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to stress.”

Posted in General Employment Law, occupational stress and tagged , .