Surveys reveal two faces of stressed-out workforce

Research into stress in the workplace shows just how different management’s perception of the problem is to that of staff.

Research by the Institute of Directors (IoD) found that a majority of UK businesses now have strategies in place to deal with stress at work.

The study, released to coincide with National Stress Awareness Day last week, showed that 58 per cent of IoD members had no experience of their staff suffering from stress.

More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of respondents said they had increased training and support to deal with the problem of stress at work and 65 per cent did not think the problem was worsening.

Richard Wilson, head of business policy at the IoD, said: “Most IoD members are now taking stress seriously and are adopting sensible approaches to reduce pressure on employees.”

However, this contrasts with TUC research, which found that the number of workers suffering from stress had risen this year.

Three in five workers (58 per cent) now complain of being stressed at work, an increase of 2 per cent from 2002, according to the TUC. That figure rises to 63 per cent in businesses with more than 1,000 employees.

The main reasons cited for stress are increased workloads, change at work, staff cuts, long hours and bullying.

The TUC’s findings are backed by a report from Henderson Global Investors entitled Stress: An Epidemic in the UK’s Workplace?, which said that workplace stress was the single biggest cause of absenteeism in the UK.

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