April is Stress Awareness Month and a recent study has found that work is the most common cause of stress in the UK. The Perkbox 2020 UK workplace stress survey found that a whopping 79% of employed adults in the UK commonly experience work-related stress which is 20% higher than their previous 2018 study. What is equally concerning is that only 1% of working people say they ‘never’ experience workplace stress.
The most common cause of work-related stress in the workplace is office politics at 37%, with ‘lack of interdepartmental communications’ coming second with 34%, closely followed by ‘the work performance of others’ at 33%. The 2018 study found that ‘long working hours’ was the most common cause of work-related stress which takes seventh place in the 2020 survey.
Local and national government workers are most likely to experience work-related stress (92%), followed by people working in telecoms (88%), and media and marketing (85%). Customer service workers are the most likely to experience stress on a daily basis (25%), followed by 22% of people working in senior management.
The study found that where you live makes a big difference too. People living in Wales are far more likely to experience stress at work on a weekly basis (43%) whereas workers in Scotland are the least stressed (8%). The numbers aren’t so drastic when it comes to gender with 80% of women and 76% of men experiencing work-related stress.
The main cause of stress for employees aged between 45-54 is work-related office politics (40%), whereas 38% of people aged between 25-34 found a lack of interdepartmental communications most stressful.
The survey shows that people are fully aware that stress is taking its toll on them and 88% of are taking measures in their own lives to actively alleviate work-related stress.
Just over 40% use exercise to manage their stress and 37% take time out to rest, while 1 in 5 practice mindfulness, yoga or meditation. Meanwhile, 32% turn to stimulants like nicotine, alcohol and caffeine to deal with stress.
On a positive note, it seems that employers have started to put strategies in place for employee wellbeing. Just under 20% of employees said their workplace has no measures in place to help with stress compared to 45% in 2018. Nevertheless, it’s clear that UK employers need to identify the main causes of stress and improve their methods of supporting their staff in order to have a healthy and happy workforce.
Read the full Perkbox 2020 UK workplace stress survey here.
Author: Melina Sophocleous, Housing Technology
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