By Daniel Hunter

Stress is prolific in British business with almost half (48 per cent) of senior managers saying they are stressed all or most of the time, according to new research from AXA PPP healthcare.

This level of near constant stress affected 1 in 4 (23 per cent) of the other employees surveyed. Ninety-two per cent of senior managers say they have suffered from stress at some point.

The biggest cause of stress among the senior managers was financial worries, with 1 in 3 (34 per cent) listing financial worries as the biggest stressor, followed by workload (28 per cent). However, when it came to the employees, 45 per cent stated workload as their main cause of stress. Financial worries were the second most cited factor (26 per cent). Worryingly, despite the seemingly buoyant jobs market, 1 in 5 (22 per cent) of both groups cited stress caused by worries about their job security.

When asked where they felt most affected by stress, 44 per cent of the senior managers stated they were most affected by stress in the workplace, with an additional 30 per cent claiming to be affected by stress both at work and at home. A quarter (26 per cent) of the managers felt most affected by stress at home. Of the other employees surveyed, 44 per cent felt they were most affected by stress at work, with an additional 43 per cent feeling affected at both work and home. Thirteen per cent of the employees said they were most affected by stress at home.

Dr Mark Winwood, director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare, said:

“It is concerning to see that almost half of the senior managers surveyed report experiencing constant stress. Occasionally experiencing symptoms of stress is to be expected. However, chronic stress can create or exacerbate existing mental health issues, including anxiety and depression and, as such, it is important to manage.

“By promoting stress-reducing behaviours wherever possible, such as a reduction in unnecessary out-of-hours emails, flexible working and an open culture where all employees can discuss their concerns and issues, businesses can minimise the effects of stress on all levels of the workforce. Changes in workplace culture are best implemented from the top down to effect real change, so managers could help their employees reduce stress, while also helping themselves. Having a company culture that is open about stress and mental ill health will benefit everybody.”