Stress affects more than half of the UK workforce

More than half the UK workforce believes it suffers above-average stress at

A study by the British Market Research Bureau also reveals that public sector
workers are even more stressed – with 60 per cent claiming they feel
"above average stress and pressure".

The survey of 1,526 workers shows almost half the workforce (47 per cent)
feel their job forces them to make sacrifices in the area of work and personal
balance and 40 per cent feel they devote too much time to work.

However, it shows that pressured staff will stay with their employer. The
report finds that 53 per cent of workers who feel their work-life balance is
wrong still expect to be with their employer in two years’ time, compared with
55 per cent of those who feel their balance is right.

Many who feel stressed still feel proud of their workplace – 70 per cent of
those who believe their work-life balance is wrong are proud of their employer,
compared to 73 per cent of those happy with their balance.

Health and Safety Commission chairman Bill Callaghan said the UK urgently
needs to tackle stress, and that there is a business case for doing so. "I
am amazed at the complacent attitude to work-related stress in some
quarters," he said. "Too often I hear phases like ‘a little stress
doesn’t do any harm’."

Callaghan said HSE research shows that work-related stress costs UK
employers £400m a year.

"In human terms, depression, anxiety or a physical condition ascribed
to work related stress – on average – results in half a million people per year
reporting stress at levels making them ill."

By Quentin Reade

How the HSE intends to help tackle stress:

– Launch a new training and resource

– Encourage best practice and benchmarking (at

– Build a business case for action

– Develop management standards for measuring the effectiveness
of dealing with occupational stress

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