Half of British worker absence due to stress

Half of employee absence is due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety, according to a new survey.

The study of 3,000 British workers by employee engagement firm, Perkbox, revealed 59% of workers experienced stress – and only 9% said they never had work-related stress.

It also showed one in five experienced moderate to high levels of stress several times a week – and long working hours effected the same amount of people.

High earners experience the most stress

High earning members of staff – those of more than £40,000 – were most likely to experience work-related stress (72%).

Almost two-thirds suffered from sleep loss as a result of stress – and almost half had anxiety. A third comfort ate to appease the symptoms of stress.

The figure is the highest in a decade, and follows the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s latest Labour Force Survey, where 49% of all working days lost in 2016-2017 were reported as being due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

More than one in 10 say that stress causes them to take sick days from work.

Stress and the impact on engagement

Just 3% report that stress makes them feel more engaged with their work than normal, while only slightly more (5%) believe they are more effective as a result.

Flexi-time (21%), allowing staff to work from home (18%) and organising social events (12%) are the most common things workers say their employers currently do to help alleviate their stress.

Just 8% of firms offer counselling services to staff, 6% offer stress management and/or resilience trainin,g and 9% arrange regular one-to-ones with managers.

Chieu Cao, co-founder and chief marketing officer (CMO) at Perkbox, said: Today, mental health is one of the biggest HR issues faced by UK employers, and it is by no means going away.

“How successfully workers are able to manage not only work-related stress but also that which originates at home or in their personal lives, can have a huge impact on businesses’ productivity and staff retention – and in turn, profitability and stability.”

So what can you do about it?

Whether you are a business or an individual, the first step is to measure how much stress you are under. How is it affecting your business, performance?

KPIs such as staff engagement, and turnover, will help you identify the areas of the business that suffer the most stress. And for the individual, start measuring your stress using an app such as Welltory. This information will help you to identify the areas where you can improve. Beyond that, contact us to get a FREE discovery session with recommendations on the areas that would have the biggest impact for you.

Read the full report from Perkbox here.

Further Reading

Half of British worker absence due to stress – SHP Online. Link here.

Perkbox 2018 Workplace Stress Survey. Link here.


Experienced business leader, mentor and coach, with fascinations for technology, psychology and ancient philosophies. A self-confessed techno hippy with a unique talent for bringing the best out in people.

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