Research carried out by the Totaljobs.com suggests British workers suffer more stress and feel less able to deal with their workloads than those in mainland Europe.
According to the report, only 13% of UK employees reported feeling no stress and ‘on top of their work’. This is compared to the European average of 42%.
The least stressed are the French and the Dutch, with 64% of employees reporting that they felt no stress at work and had no problems handling their workloads.
The levels of stress within the UK itself are also rising, with 24% of workers saying they felt more stressed at work than this time last year.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at mental health charity Mind, claimed this level of stress in the workplace can have serious implications for employees’ wider mental health.
“Work is the most stressful factor in most people’s lives,” she siad. “While a little bit of pressure can be great for motivation and productivity, sustained and unwelcome stress can be hugely damaging and lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.”
Mamo blamed increased stress levels partly on inflexible attitudes to mental wellbeing issues in workplaces.
“Part of the problem is the culture of silence around mental health that stops people speaking up about how they feel,” she explained. “People are worried about telling their manager they are struggling, especially at times of economic difficulty, for fear of being judged as unable to cope. Acknowledging that mental health is everyone’s business and creating a safe environment in which people feel they can open up and seek support is crucial.”
John Salt, website director at totaljobs.com, said a reasonable work/life balance is the biggest factor in helping alleviate workplace stress.
“Companies need to pay more attention to the hidden danger of stress, which is becoming a big issue in the workplace,” he said. “It’s vital that employers ensure staff are able to handle their workload within normal working hours, leaving enough time during the week to switch off, recharge and relax.”