Three in five workers stressed at work

More than three in five workers (64 per cent) admit to feeling stressed at work, according to research from YouGov conducted on behalf of Westfield Health.

The finding could potentially lead to 'bigger problems down the line' for UK businesses, YouGov said.

The survey questioned over 2,000 working adults and 500 senior decision makers and found:

  • 82 per cent of employees have worked over their contracted hours in the past 12 months
  • 46 per cent of workers eat their lunch at their desk or in the office
  • 54 per cent do not take breaks - apart from lunch - on a regular working day
  • 29 per cent have cancelled annual leave because of work pressures
  • 89 per cent admit to 'presenteeism' - attending work even though they are not feeling well
  • The most stressed workforces in the UK are found in Scotland, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West and West Midlands
  • Welsh workers are the least stressed.

Despite 95 per cent of employers saying a healthy workforce is important to the success of their business, 26 per cent of bosses believe stress is a 'common pressure'.

YouGov's research also identified ways that people are attempting to mitigate stress in the workplace:

  • 33 per cent of employers offer flexible working hours while 28 per cent discourage it
  • Half of employees offered flexible working say it makes them more productive
  • Of those who feel stressed at work, 47 per cent choose to unwind by spending time with their family after work
  • A further 31 per cent opt for exercise.

Westfield Health's executive director Paul Shires, said: "There are certainly positive signs to be found in this survey, with the majority saying we like our jobs and 59 per cent of bosses rating staff health as 'very important'. However, things like 'presenteeism' are increasingly being recognised as a contributor to lost productivity and potential health costs for employers, as a result of staff performing below par, feeling unmotivated or making errors due to illness."

Mr Shires added: "Steps to improve worker health can lead to measurable economic benefits which may be greater than the costs associated with sickness absence, as well as boost morale and improve recruitment and retention."

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