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Study reveals impacts of work-related stress

08 April 2020

AS APRIL marks Stress Awareness Month, Perkbox, the employee experience platform, commissioned a new study of 1,815 employed people to measure levels of work-related stress and how they are being supported by their employers.

Work-related stress is the most common form of stress in the UK, the study revealed. A staggering 79% of employed adults regularly experience this, with just 1% stating that they ‘never’ experience work-related stress. The second most common causes of stress are financial issues, with 60% experiencing this, followed by family (48%), health (45%) and relationship stress (35%).

The study revealed how serious impacts of work-related stress are by highlighting how the effects continue after the working day is done. A huge 55% of employed adults experience anxiety as a result of work-related stress, which can cause numerous physical and mental impacts on the body. Many employees are also noticing further effects on their health and wellbeing. Almost half (43%) experience a loss of sleep due to work-stress, while 32% increase their use of stimulants such as nicotine, alcohol or caffeine and a third turn to comfort eating. In terms of working productivity, 51% feel that stress disrupts concentration while just 5% of employees say workplace stress makes them more engaged, and another 5% more productive.

Thankfully, the study highlighted that many employees are becoming aware of the need for self-care. 88% of employees are now taking measures in their own lives to actively alleviate stress. 

The most popular method to reduce stress is to discuss problems with friends and family, with 40% of employees taking this action. Many are also trying other healthy methods for stress reduction – 42% turn to exercise to improve their mental wellbeing, 37% choose to get some rest, and over 1 in 5 practice mindfulness, yoga or meditation. 

Unfortunately, it seems that most don’t feel comfortable to discuss problems with managers - as less than 1 in 5 would discuss concerns with a superior at work. Instead, many would take matters into their own hands, with 16% prepared to leave a company that is causing stress. 

However, companies are working to help – just 19% of employees state that their workplace has no measures in place to help with stress. The most popular stress-reducing policies include flexible working hours (offered by 37% of workplaces), regular one-to-ones between employees and managers (37%), and counseling services for staff (33%). 

Nevertheless, as stress levels continue to rise, it begs the question of if more innovative methods for stress reduction are needed for today’s climate. These methods could include strategies such as stress management or resilience training, which just 11% of workplaces currently offer. By teaching employees the tools to handle stress, workplaces not only improve their employees’ wellbeing, they can also improve productivity and engagement within the company - this is an area we expect to see this area grow in the upcoming years.

For more information, view the study ​or contact Perkbox