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Work is the Most Common Cause of Stress in the UK

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.

We’d love to hear from you if you have personal experience of managing stress or implementing measures to support employees. Get in touch at

Author: Housing Technology