More than four out of ten workers (44%) say that their work stress levels have increased as a result of the pandemic, according to a European survey.
The workers’ poll by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) has been published to coincide with World Mental Health Day today (10 October).
Almost half of respondents (46%) said they were exposed to severe time pressure or work overload.
Other factors causing stress included poor communication or cooperation within the organisation and a lack of control over work pace or work processes.
A number of work-related health issues that are commonly associated with stress were reported by significant minority of those polled. Nearly a third (30%) of respondents reported at least one health problem (overall fatigue, headaches, eyestrain, muscle problems or pain) caused or made worse by work.
More positively, talking and opening up about mental health is becoming less taboo, the poll appeared to indicate.
Half (50%) of the workers surveyed felt the pandemic had made it easier to talk about mental health at work.
Employee mental health
Not all workers are comfortable talking about how they feel, however. While 59% said they felt comfortable speaking to their manager or supervisor about their mental health, 50% worried that disclosing a mental health condition could have a negative impact on their career.
In terms of workplace initiatives and activities to prevent or reduce the risks, 42% said information and training on wellbeing and coping with stress was provided at their workplace.
Access to counselling and psychosocial support (38%) and awareness raising and other activities to provide information on safety and health (59%) were also commonly available.
Separately, research by workplace organisation Glassdoor has highlighted a sharp increase in workers discussing burnout, overwork and mental ill health.
The study found a steep increase in mentions of burnout, overwork and mental health in employee reviews between 2019 and 2022.
Burnout saw the largest increase, soaring by 86%, while mental health mentions climbed 21% and overwork 15%, indicating many workers were still struggling to find a good work-life balance.