Nearly half of UK employees (47%) say they have experienced “excessive” stress in their workplace over the past year, prompting one in eight (13%) to consider quitting their job and nearly one in 10 (9%) to actually to do so.
The 2021 Mental health, stress and quitting smoking study by vape kit retailer Vape Club concluded nearly one in three people (29%) had taken time off for mental health reasons, whether as sick leave, holiday or unpaid leave.
The poll of employees in 500 companies concluded one in 12 (8%) had taken paid sick leave and 4% had been forced to take unpaid leave. The survey was published ahead of National Stress Awareness Day next week (3 November).
The stress and anxiety of the past year and a half had also prompted 22% to smoke more than they normally did, while around 15% said they had been drinking more alcohol as a result.
The survey analysed four key sectors of the economy: healthcare, teaching and education, retail, and transport and logistics.
Three in five healthcare workers said they had experienced excessive stress at work over the past year, with a quarter (25%) taking statutory sick days or unpaid leave for mental health reasons. About the same proportion (24%) had considered quitting as a result, and 9% actually had done so.
Two in five teaching and education employees had experienced excessive workplace stress at over the last year, with 18.5% taking sick days off as a result and 7% taking unpaid leave. One in 25 had considering leaving their role.
Three in five retail employees had experienced excessive stress, with up to 30% taking time off work and 16% taking unpaid leave.
More than one in four (26%) had considering leaving their role and 5% had done so.
Finally, half of employees surveyed in the transport and logistics sector said they had experienced excessive stress at work over the last year, with up to 27% taking time off and 7% taking unpaid leave. Nearly one in five employees working in this area (17%) were considering leaving their role and 10% had done so, the survey revealed.
Dan Marchant, director at Vape Club and founding member of the UK Vaping Industry Association, said: “It’s worrying to see that almost half of UK employees have experienced excessive stress at work, especially as 43% of ex-smokers most crave cigarettes when they’re suffering from stress.”
“We’ve seen evidence that encouraging employees to quit smoking not only cuts down on the number of sick days needed for the physical impact that smoking has, but it also improves the individual’s mental wellbeing, which is a key part of reducing stress,” he concluded.