A poll of 2,000 people by recruitment firm Robert Walters has found 60 per cent of professionals stated they have suffered from some form of workplace-related stress, which has been onset in 2023. When asked how often they feel this way, a third stated ‘very often’ (33 per cent), with a further 27 per cent stating ‘somewhat often’, and 31 per cent identified it as happening ‘sometimes.’ – Just 9 per cent stated that they had not experienced any form of ‘reoccurring stress’ at work this year.

The causes

When asked about what causes workplace stress, concerns over job stability were the most common trigger (45 per cent). Followed by more pressure from management (23 per cent), lack of a pay rise (19 per cent) and taking on a heftier workload this year (13 per cent).

Whose responsibility, is it?

When asked whose responsibility it was to manage workplace stress – 45 per cent of professionals said it was down to HR and senior leaders, followed by line managers (34 per cent) – with only a fraction (18 per cent) thinking it was down to the individual. However, less than 20 per cent of professionals feel employers are doing enough, a further 27 per cent feel some efforts have been made, but they are lacking – whilst the majority (55 per cent) state that employers simply aren’t doing enough.

“UK Employers spend an estimated £100-200 per employee on wellness initiatives and benefits every year – but our survey indicates they may only be applying a band-aid,” said Chris Poole, managing director of Robert Walters. “Employers must strike the balance between not breaking the banks or piling pressure onto managers to solve workplace stress but still being proactive and listening to the needs of their employees.”

Causes and effects

Long work hours, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, unclear job expectations, job insecurity, and conflicts with colleagues or supervisors are all factors which contribute towards workplace stress. If not addressed, workplace stress can snowball into higher turnover rates, levels of employee burnout, absenteeism and lower levels of productivity.

Indeed, 51 per cent of professionals identified their company’s output as high – with almost a quarter noting it was of a low quality.

Chris comments: “Workplace stress is something everyone in a business has a hand in creating – however it is down to senior leaders and HR to set the tone for how it is handled.

“Simple interventions such as making sure workloads are manageable, setting realistic deadlines and making sure employees have access to support, safe spaces and relevant resources – can all help to alleviate pressure in the workplace as well as professionals’ day-to-day work life.”

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