A few months ago we looked at stress at work – How Bad is Workplace Stress in the UK? – and we found that 59% of respondents said that work is the main cause of stress in their lives.
Long working hours and the work (or lack of work) by colleagues was the main reasons why people experience stress in their jobs.
A new survey by CIPD in conjunction with the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick University has further expanded on these causes of stress in addition to looking at recommendations of limiting pressure at work and decreasing mental health problems that can come from this.
In this weeks’ blog, we are going to have a look at the UK Working Lives survey and what the potential solutions are for making the workplace a healthier and happier environment.
How Bad is Workplace Stress?
Before we look at the extent of stress it should be noted that 51% of respondents said that work had a positive impact on their mental health. This was for senior management however this figure decreased to 40% when it came to mid-level workers.
Anxiety and depression accounted for 22% of all medical conditions associated with work and the number of employees who said that they ‘often or always’ suffer from excessive pressure at work was also 22%.
11% said that they experience misery either all the time or on a frequent basis due to their job.
What Else Did The Survey Find?
The voluntary and public sector was found to have the highest levels of stress and many respondents said that they were more likely to have ‘unmanageable workloads’ which contribute to stress and poor mental health.
Middle-management stated that they suffered from work overload which is unavoidable in their job.
In terms of reasons for workplace stress, working longer hours than they would like was a major contributing factor. 27% said that they worked ten or more hours per week longer than would like to and 6% were overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do on a daily basis. This ties in with the survey we examined in our previous blog post where 21% said that long working hours were the main cause of their mental health problems.
What Are the Solutions?
Combating workplace stress doesn’t have a ‘one size fits all’ approach however the report did point to some recommendations that could potentially help.
Looking at ‘job design’ which means employers tailor job roles more to that employee’s skills and allowing for more flexible working may have an impact on reducing stress levels. Allowing workers a more prominent voice in the organisation that they work for and having a ‘stress audit’ to identify problems are also cited as potential solutions to decreasing stress in the UK workplace.
It also recommended that the government do more to support smaller firms at a local level to improve their management practices.
It’s clear that stress plays a major role in poor or declining mental health among British workers however there are ways in which this can be rectified or at least limited. There is still some way to go however reports like these help to raise awareness of the issues and propose recommendations for reducing workplace pressure and stress.
You can read the full report here.