Most people who have joined the employment market have come across stressful situations from time to time, whether through heavy workload, unreasonable demands, office politics or a host of other reasons.
But are you more likely to be stressed if you have a particular role, work in a specific industry or are employed in a larger company?
A recent report from the Health & Safety Executive, entitled Work related Stress, Anxiety and Depression in Great Britain 2016 has shed some light on these very questions.
Which are the UK’s most stressful occupations?
According to the 2016 HSE report, the professional occupations with the highest prevalence rate for work-related stress are in welfare and nursing.
Interestingly, business, finance and technical occupations had the lowest prevalence rates of the occupations assessed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that if you work in the corporate world rather than the public sector you are not likely to suffer from work-related stress, as there are many other factors that can cause you to experience this problem.
What size of business do you work in?
Interestingly, the report showed a growing incidence of work-related stress as company size increases.
For example, whilst smaller businesses were shown to have a prevalence rate of work-related stress of around 1000 workers in every 100,000, the rate rose to around 1400 in medium-sized businesses and to around 1700 in businesses with over 250,000 staff.
What are the key causes of stress for UK workers?
Again, the above statistics don’t mean that you are bound to be more stressed if you work in a big firm. That is because the HSE report also indicates that particular work environments are more likely to increase the prevalence of work-related stress.
For example, it’s Labour Force Survey (2009/10-2011/12) showed that the main cause of work-related stress was workload, in particular where employees had to meet tight deadlines, were given too much work or had too much pressure or responsibility.
In addition, staff surveyed reported other stress-inducing factors including a lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work, violence in the workplace and uncertainty about their role.
So what is the size of the problem?
According to the above Labour Force Survey, the total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 in Great Britain was 488,000 cases.
That is a lot of cases and it is having a big impact on the UK workplace. In fact, in 2015/16 the total number of working days lost due to this condition was 11.7 million days.
What is more, in this same period stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill-health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.
Are you stressed at work?
If stress at work is having a seriously negative impact on your wellbeing, then it is important not to sit and suffer in silence. Instead, talk to your manager about it to see if they can make changes to help you manage or address the issues that are causing the stress.
If you don’t feel that you can speak to your manager, try speaking with your HR department or call Acas if you feel you need to speak to somebody outside of work for completely impartial advice.
Whatever action you take, one thing we cannot stress enough is the importance of tackling this issue head on, as failure to do so cannot only be detrimental for your own wellbeing but also affect the performance of the business you work in.
Stress at work is not your issue, it is a business issue and any business that fails to address it is failing to tackle shortcomings in its own operations.