By Daniel Hunter
Britons spend more than a third of their working life feeling stressed, according to a major study into performance-related stress and anxiety.
The research revealed that the average employee feels stressed, anxious and worried on 84 days of the year, blaming workload, deadlines and other external factors.
Only a fraction of those affected will confide in a manager, with nearly double choosing to “suffer in silence”.
Over two-thirds admitted that it has a negative impact on their work by reducing levels of motivation, productivity, and self-confidence.
And a third of workers know of at least two ‘working people’ who have been or are taking anti-depressants.
In total, Britons will be experiencing stress for 35% of the average 240 working days of the year, which equates to 3,528 days — or 28,224 hours — over the course of a normal working lifetime.
The research, published today, was conducted by performance psychology firm Star Consultancy as part of a comprehensive study into workplace performance and the perceived cause and effects of stress, anxiety and worry in the British workforce.
The findings highlight a vital need for both employers and employees to understand the nature of stress and for bosses to put state of mind first to ensure a healthy, high-performing workforce.
Chantal Burns, one of the UK’s leading experts in state of mind and performance, who commissioned the research, said the findings are a “massive call to action”.
She said: “We seem to be living in stressed-out Britain, which is a massive call to action to address the root causes of a growing problem.
“While difficult and demanding situations are inevitable in the workplace, regular or chronic stress is not and it’s damaging employees’ health and mental well-being, as well as the company bottom-line though poorer performance and increased sick leave.”
Of those questioned, some 28% said they feel “stressed, anxious or worried” at work twice a week or at least once- a-week (21%).
Alarmingly, 14% said they feel stressed or anxious at work every day.
The majority blame workload as the number one cause (66%) and pressure of deadlines (53%), while others attribute their feelings to ‘other people/relationships’ (34%), lack of control or responsibility (30%) or a lack of confidence (22%).
Nearly two thirds (62%) of respondents said the number one reason they don’t always perform to the best of their ability at work is because of stress, anxiety or worry.
According to the research, the most common effects of stress on people’s work include a negative impact on productivity, self-confidence, tolerance, clarity of thinking, and motivation levels. Relationships with colleagues, managers and clients are also affected.
Almost a third (30%) of those affected by stress speak to a colleague or a friend for support but the remainder ‘try to analyse the problem myself’ (26%), ‘suffer in silence’ (11%), with only 6% confiding in a manager.
Some 7% of those questioned have taken up to five days off work because of stress, anxiety or depression, and 29% know of between two and five working people who have been or are taking anti-depressants.
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