More than half of employees (56%) find work very or fairly stressful according to research by charity Mind.
Its survey of more than 1,250 working people in Britain, which was published to mark National Stress Awareness Day on 6 November, found that respondents find work more stressful than debt or financial problems (38%), health (29%) or relationships (20%).
The survey also found that common causes of stress at work included excessive workload (52%), frustration with poor management (54%), not enough support from managers (47%), threat of redundancy (27%) and unrealistic targets (45%).
However, 30% of respondents said they would not be able to talk openly with their line manager if they were stressed. In addition, of the 14% of respondents who had a diagnosed mental health problem, fewer than half (45%) had told their current employer.
Of those who have taken time off sick with stress, just 5% said the main reason they gave their employer was that they were too stressed to work. The remaining 95% cited another reason for their absence, such as an upset stomach (44%) or a headache (7%).
The survey also found that workplace stress also has an impact on employees’ lives outside of work. One in five (20%) said it had put a strain on their marriage or relationship with significant other, while 11% had missed important events such as birthdays or weddings.
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: “What is really worrying is not just the prevalence of stress and mental health problems at work, but that staff don’t feel supported to help cope with workplace stress.
“We know employers are starting to take mental health at work more seriously, but clearly still have a long way to go in helping tackle the causes of stress and poor mental health at work. That’s why it’s so important that organisations proactively manage staff wellbeing, and create an open culture where employees are able to talk about wellbeing without fear of discrimination or being perceived as weak or incapable.
“Employers don’t necessarily need to put in place costly interventions. Small, inexpensive measures can make a huge difference to staff wellbeing.”