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13th May 2019

Acas - Stress at work: the triggers and coping strategies

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  • Acas - Stress at work: the triggers and coping strategies

Acas has today published a YouGov poll to find out more about employees’ experiences of mental wellbeing at work, the causes and how people respond to stress and anxiety in the workplace. The findings were interesting:

  • Two-thirds have felt stressed and/or anxious about work in the last 12 months. Younger workers were significantly more likely to report stress and/or anxiety (76% for those under the age of 35; 54% for those 55 and over).
  • Only 8% said their organisation was ‘very good’ at preventing employees from feeling stressed and/or anxious about work.
  • The most commonly cited cause of stress and/or anxiety for employees who feel stressed is their workload (60%), followed by the way that they are managed (42%) and balancing home and work life (35%).
  • To manage stress and/or anxiety, employees tend to take time out, such as having a cup of tea or going for a walk (41% of employees who feel stressed). Worryingly, more than a quarter of those feeling stressed (28%) don’t do anything to address it.
  • A third (33%) of employees think that ‘a reduced workload’ would help with feeling less stressed and/or anxious, followed by ‘better flexible working opportunities’ (26%) and ‘more clarity around what is required from me for my job role’ (23%).
  • A large majority (72%) of employees think that it is a manager’s role to recognise and address stress and anxiety in the workplace, but less than half (43%) of employees would talk to their manager about it.

There is clearly more we can do to support employees – to spot triggers and signs of stress and help employees develop their own resilience plans; to learn how to talk to colleagues and ask how they are; to set policies which allow a culture of respect and trust to share personal stories; and find ways to make adjustments to allow colleagues to work to their best ability. The Acas framework to promote positive mental health can help.