Human Resources

Nearly half of UK workers admit their jobs are too stressful

By The O.C. Tanner Institute
Human Resources
Published: 14 November 2017

45% of UK workers admit their jobs are creating a great deal of negative stress in their lives, according to latest research by The O.C. Tanner Institute. UK workers are also among the most stressed in the world with the research highlighting that, of the 12 countries studied, the UK is the third most stressed nation (behind India – 51% and Germany – 48%).

This level of stress is impacting work-life balance with only 53% of UK workers saying that their jobs allow them to balance their work and personal lives. Just as worrying is that 37% of workers confess that their situation at work is hurting their ability to be happy in other aspects of their lives.

And stress in the workplace is not just impacting people socially and emotionally, it is also having a physical impact with 38% of UK employees saying that their job is having a negative effect on their physical health.

The O.C. Tanner Institute conducted a comprehensive global study involving six sets of two focus groups across six countries and a quantitative survey involving 9,622 respondents across 12 countries. This survey included 1,102 UK respondents who had a range of jobs and were from a cross-section of industries and socio-economic backgrounds. All respondents were from companies that had more than 500 employees.

Ian Feaver, European Director of O.C. Tanner, comments, “This large-scale research puts a spotlight on the growing issue of workplace stress. With UK workers amongst the most stressed in the world, this is having negative repercussions on their personal lives, impacting their emotional, social, financial and physical well-being. With so many of today’s generation of workers being denied a decent work-life balance, it’s a bleak outlook.”

When questioned about how workers view their organisations, 46% of UK respondents believe that productivity is more important to their organisations than people and 41 per cent believe their organisations only care about profits. Similarly, just 40% of UK employees think wellbeing is a strong part of their organisation’s culture. It is therefore hardly surprising that only 47% of UK employees feel a sense of belonging at their current organisations.

Feaver adds, “Stress should not be an accepted part of working life. It’s damaging for both the individual and the company and so organisations need to look at ways to improve their employees’ wellbeing.

First and foremost, they need to address their company culture and better understand how their employees are treated. After all, workers want to be treated as people and not just as a means for the organisation to make a profit. By creating a culture in which people are respected and their contributions recognised and valued, this ensures wellbeing is being tackled at the very heart of the organisation.”