Stress Biggest Problem for UK Workers

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Stress is the biggest problem facing UK workplaces, with excessive workloads, job cuts and rapid change being the most common triggers, according to new research by the TUC.

The figures, released to coincide with International Stress Awareness Day today, show that six out of ten union safety reps found stress to be their most pressing concern at work.

When asked what were the factors most likely to lead to problems with stress at work, over three-quarters of the reps (76%) said that excessive workloads were to blame. Other issues cited include cuts in staffing levels (57%), rapid change (53%), long hours working (34%) and bullying (33%).

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said that employers were not doing enough to minimise the impact of stress.

“With time taken off work because of stress costing UK businesses some £3.7 billion a year, it makes no sense for employers to be ignoring the problem,” Barber said. “The Health and Safety Executive has made it easy for them and produced new management standards to help them tackle stress. Bosses should be doing all they can to make sure their workplaces become as stress-free as possible.”

Meanwhile, research by Investors in People found that a third of employees cited stress as a major issue in their organisation.

Nicola Clark, Director at Investors in People, said that while there was no “one-size fits all” approach to tackling stress, simple steps could alleviate the problem.

“Communicating regularly with employees and encouraging an open and honest dialogue makes it easier for managers to identify pressure points at an early stage,” Clark said. “This will then enable them to offer appropriate support, for example, providing advice on how to manage workloads or arranging extra training for their employees.”

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