Work ‘more stressful’ than debt or health problems

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Life at work is now rated as being more stressful than debt or health problems in the UK. Excessive workloads, a lack of support from line managers and unrealistic targets have contributed to a stressed-out workforce, a survey has found.

The leading cause for workplace stress was frustration with poor management, the survey, commissioned by mental health charity Mind, found, with one in three (32%) saying this was either very stressful or quite stressful. Excessive workload was the second most cited factor for 26% of those surveyed, followed by insufficient support from managers (25%) and unrealistic targets (25%).

Although the survey found that line managers would like to be more active to improve their staff’s mental wellbeing, with more than half (56%) stating they needed more training or guidance, 46% said it was not a priority in their organisation. However, employees don’t believe that managers are actively tackling causes of stress in the workplace, with only one-fifth of people saying they felt their line manager took active steps to help staff manage stress (22%) or mental health conditions (19%).

Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer said: “Work-related mental health problems are an issue too important for businesses to ignore.

“Employees are still experiencing high levels of stress at work, which is negatively impacting their physical and mental health. We know that right now, one in six workers is experiencing depression, stress or anxiety and yet our survey tells us that most managers don’t feel they have had enough training or guidance to support them.”

One-third (34%) of people said their work life was either very or quite stressful, more so than debt or financial problems (30%) or health (17%). One respondent in five said that they had taken a day off sick because of stress, and – significantly – 90% of this group had cited a different reason for their absence.

A quarter of the 2,060 adults surveyed by Populus admitted they had considered resigning due to work pressure, and 9% commented that they have resigned from a job due to work stress.

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