More than a third of UK workers have considered quitting their job due to stress

  • One in five  would rather have workplace support for mental health than a 3% pay rise
  • 15.4 million days lost to mental health-related issues in 2017/18
  • £99bn estimated cost to the UK economy of poor mental health
  • New study released at start of Stress Awareness Week (Mon 4th– Fri 8th November)

Thanks to numerous high profile public health campaigns, there is now far less stigma attached to the subject of mental health. Yet while we are increasingly encouraged to talk openly about our personal struggles with stress, depression, and anxiety, more of us are affected by mental health issues than ever before. And it is stress in the workplace that constitutes a significant part of Britain’s wider mental health crisis.

According to new research commissioned for Stress Awareness Week by not-for-profit organisation Investors in People, around 8-in-10 (79%) people say they have experienced stress at work.  More than a third (35%) say they have even considered leaving their current job because of work-related stress.

Heavy workloads, tight deadlines, demanding bosses, ill-equipped managers and poor working environments all contribute to the pressures felt by people in the workplace.

And in today’s 24/7,  “always-on” culture, it seems leaving our problems behind at the end of the working day is increasingly hard to do with more than half (54%) of employees saying they have experienced work-related stress while at home.

If left untreated, these pressures can cause working people to suffer serious mental health problems. At the very least, the result is a less efficient workforce with more than three quarters (78%) admitting they are less productive when feeling stressed.

More than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed felt their employer did not support their mental wellbeing, and just 30% agreed their workplace had a culture of openness around mental health.

A fifth 20%) felt so strongly about the issue they said they would rather have workplace support for their mental health than a 3% pay rise.

In 2017/18, 15.4 million days were lost to mental health-related issues, according figures from the Health and Safety Executive, while a recent report by Stevenson and Farmer suggested that poor mental health could be costing the economy £99bn a year.

Investors in People believe more employers need to properly train their line managers in how to support team member’s mental health with a focus on listening to their concerns, adopting a flexible attitude and ensuring that solutions are tailored to the person’s particular needs.

Equally they say it’s important for employees who have a mental health concern to speak up as soon as they feel comfortable to do so as employers can only help if they are made fully aware of the situation. Building open and honest relationships at work and being pro-active is also key to ensuring that employees’ get the support they need.