3 in 5 suffering from workplace stress this year, research shows

Three in five professionals state that their mental health has declined this year as a result of workplace stress, a new study has found.

Despite UK employers spending millions on wellness initiatives every year – increasing their spend by 20% since the pandemic – 55% of professionals still think that their employer is not doing enough to combat stress in the workplace.

According to a poll of 2,000 by recruitment firm Robert Walters, 60% of professionals stated they have suffered from some form of workplace-related stress, which has been onset in 2023.

When asked how often they feel this way, a third stated “very often” (33%), with a further 27% stating “somewhat often”, and 31% identified it as happening “sometimes”. Just 9% stated that they had not experienced any form of “reoccurring stress” at work this year.

When asked about what causes workplace stress, concerns over job stability were the most common trigger (45%). Followed by more pressure from management (23%), lack of a pay rise (19%) and taking on a heftier workload this year (13%).

When asked whose responsibility it was to manage workplace stress – 45% of professionals said it was down to HR and senior leaders, followed by line managers (34%) – with only a fraction (18%) thinking it was down to the individual.

However, less than 20% of professionals feel employers are doing enough, a further 27% feel some efforts have been made, but they are lacking – whilst the majority (55%) state that employers simply aren’t doing enough.

Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walter, said:

“UK Employers spend an estimated £100-200 per employee on wellness initiatives & benefits every year – but our survey indicates they may only be applying a band-aid.

Employers must strike the balance between not breaking the banks or piling pressure onto managers to solve workplace stress but still being proactive and listening to the needs of their employees.”

Long work hours, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, unclear job expectations, job insecurity, and conflicts with colleagues or supervisors are all factors which contribute towards workplace stress.

Indeed, 51% of professionals identified their company’s output as high – with almost a quarter noting it was of a low quality.

Chris commented:

“Workplace stress is something everyone in a business has a hand in creating – however it is down to senior leaders & HR to set the tone for how it is handled.

Simple interventions such as making sure workloads are manageable, setting realistic deadlines and making sure employees have access to support, safe spaces and relevant resources – can all help to alleviate pressure in the workplace as well as professionals’ day-to-day work life.”

Read more stories

Join nearly 5,000 other practitioners – sign up to our free newsletter

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.