Stress in the workplace has reached record levels, according to a United
Nations report. In the five countries studied, stress affected one in 10 staff,
and the rate for the UK was among the highest at 15 to 20 per cent
self-reported anxiety and depression.
Stress is now the second biggest cause of long-term disability in the UK
after musculo-skeletal conditions, said the report.
Christine Owen, head of OH at consultancy William M Mercer, attributed the
rise in stress to organisational change. "The pressure to perform has
never been higher as the squeeze on resources continues," she said.
"Mergers and acquisitions, downsizings and outsourcings have all exacted
Employers had to look at the root cause, she said. For example, long hours
could appear to be the problem but this, in turn, can be caused by a blame
culture, lack of management support and excessive bureaucracy.