Workplace pressure causes fifth of workers to take time off

1 Nov 2017 By Marianne Calnan

As a third of employees admit to regularly considering quitting, experts urge employers to offer holistic health and wellbeing support

A fifth (20 per cent) of UK employees have taken time off work because they felt too pressured, according to a study.

A further 18 per cent of the 2,000 employees surveyed by the Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA) said they had cried at least once every fortnight because of their job. More than a third (34 per cent) said they didn’t like their job, citing problems such as not being paid enough (9 per cent) and a lack of development opportunities (8 per cent).

The research, released to mark Stress Awareness Day today (1 November), also found that 35 per cent of workers regularly considered leaving their job. The same proportion also said they often missed family occasions or personal engagements because of work commitments. 

Kelly Feehan, service director at CABA, said: “There’s an increased demand on today’s ‘always on’ workplace culture; it’s no longer just a place where employees turn up, do a job and go home. Our lives no longer have a clear separation between work and home and this expectation needs eradicating if we’re to have happy and productive employees, with great holistic health and wellbeing. This is why businesses need to assess the wellbeing and mental health structures they have in place to continue attracting and attaining the best talent.”

A separate study from CV-Library has found looking for a new job ‘always’ or ‘frequently’ stresses out 85 per cent of employees, with a similar proportion (84 per cent) saying that stress connected with job hunting is a real problem for modern workers.

Suggestions offered by employees to take the stress out of job searching included getting more feedback from recruiters (44 per cent), and being sent an acknowledgement that their application had been received, even if it was not successful (36 per cent). 

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said that because both recruiters and candidates have a shared goal – to land them a job – it is “vital recruitment professionals are working with job hunters to aid their search and reduce unnecessary stress levels”.

Today’s findings come hot on the heels of the publication of the government’s Thriving at Work report last month, which suggested that mental ill-health is costing UK employers up to £42bn a year. Every £1 an employer spends on supporting workers’ mental health generates a return of £9, it said.

Also in October, data published by Opinium Research found that only a fifth (21 per cent) of workers were comfortable talking about mental health with their colleagues, compared with 42 per cent who felt they could talk about physical health problems. A quarter (24 per cent) said they could not confide in anyone at work about their mental health.

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