Spill therapy reduces symptoms of employee stress and anxiety by 74% in six weeks.
Work-related stress has become more common recently due to financial uncertainty (from an increase in the cost of living) and remote working (which has made communication and engagement at work more difficult for many people).
The HSE defines workplace stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them”. It’s important to note that work-related stress is more about the reaction to pressure, not about the pressure itself. Some amount of stress can be a good thing, making work fulfilling (the excitement of a deadline, the challenge of figuring a new problem out).
But sustained and severe work stress that occurs over a long period of time can have a severe impact, not just on employees’ physical and mental health, but on businesses’ financial health too.
We’ve pulled together a list of the most important data and statistics on the causes of job-related stress, the impact of workplace stress, and effective ways to reduce stress at work.
Top workplace stress statistics for 2023
- 6 in 10 employees in major global economies are experiencing increased workplace stress. [1,2]
- Employees’ daily stress levels have climbed to a record high, from 43% in 2020 to 44% in 2021. 
- Work is the most common cause of stress, with 79% of people affected by work-related stress in particular. The average working adult feels stressed for almost a third of their working day. [4,5]
- Around 17 million working days are lost every year globally because of ill-health caused by work stress, depression or anxiety. This is over 50% of all work-related ill health cases. [6,7]
- 19% of UK workers say their employer has put no measures in place to relieve work stress. 
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UK workplace stress statistics
- A staggering 79% of British employees commonly experience work-related stress. This has increased by 20% since 2018. 
- 914,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2021/22. 
- Less than half (40%) of employees who suffer from workplace stress have talked to their employers about it. This could be because of existing mental health stigma in the workplace.
- 16% of people are prepared to leave companies where they feel stressed out by work. 
Causes of workplace stress in the UK
- Workplace politics are the most common cause of work-related stress (37%), followed by lack of interdepartmental communication (34%), and the work performance of others (33%). 
Other causes of job related stress include:
- Own work performance: 31%
- Customer satisfaction levels: 26%
- Tensions with senior staff: 26%
- Long work hours: 25%
- Poor company culture: 18%
- One in 10 UK adults says that their boss makes them feel stressed. 
- Almost three in ten people (29%) feel stressed about their financial circumstances in relation to work, and as the cost of living goes up (and up), that figure is likely to rise. 
- 15% of UK workers feel Brexit contributes to a higher level of workplace stress. 
The cost of workplace stress for employers
- Around 17 million working days a year are lost because of ill health caused by work stress, depression or anxiety. This is over 50% of all work-related ill health cases. [6,7]
- 1 in 10 people are thinking about leaving their job due to stress. You can expect to pay around 20% of a worker’s salary to replace them, so this figure quickly adds up. [12,13]
- Workers who are stressed out lose an average of 24 days of work each year due to poor health, with 1 in 4 workers taking time off for stress. [14,15]
The cost of workplace stress for employees
- Almost half (48%) of the British population feel stressed at least once a week. 
- 50% of workers have blurred work-life boundaries, taking their work home with them. 
- 55% of workers who experience job related stress also experience anxiety as a result. 
- 51% of workers feel that stress disrupts concentration. 
- 43% also experience a loss of sleep, while a third turn to comfort eating to deal with work stress. 
UK workplace stress statistics by region
- The highest prevalence of work stress is in Wales, with 43% saying they feel stressed on a weekly basis, followed by Northern Ireland (31%). [8, 17]
- In Greater London, 26% of employees said they feel stressed out by work every week. 
UK workplace stress statistics by industry
- 92% of people working in local or national governments reported feeling stressed at work despite the fact that this industry is twice as likely as others to offer stress management training. 
This is followed by the following industries where a high percentage of employees reported feeling stressed at work :
- Telecoms: 88%
- Media and Marketing: 85%
- Education and Real Estate: 83% of people reporting feeling stressed at work
- Travel & Legal and Professional Services: 79%
- Retail, Catering and Leisure: 78%
- Utilities and Financial Services: 76%
- Architecture, Engineering & Building and Manufacturing & Transport: 75%
- Arts & Culture and IT & Technology: 74%
- 80% of charity workers reported experiencing workplace stress, and almost half (42%) said their job wasn't good for their mental health. 
- 67% of people working in the financial services sector have reported feeling stressed at work, and job stress is the highest wellbeing risk impacting company performance. 
- Only 28% of companies in this industry feel like they’re managers can address employees’ mental health needs. 
UK job-related stress statistics by company size
- 83% of workers within large enterprises commonly experience work stress – which is more than companies of any other size. 
- In contrast, only around 10% less of employees working within micro-enterprises (1-9 employees) commonly experience stress from their work. 
UK job-related stress statistics by department
- Employees working in customer service are most likely to report feeling stressed at work (25%). 
Following this, the employees who reported the most stress at work belong to these departments :
- Senior Management: 22%
- Sales: 19%
- Facilities: 16%
- Accounting and Finance: 15%
- Marketing, PR and Communications: 14%
- Human Resource and IT & Technology: 11%
- Operations: 10%
- Research and Development: 9%
UK workplace stress statistics by identity
It’s important to keep in mind that different people are affected by stress factors in varying ways:
- The rate at which women experience work-related stress is 25% higher than men, with women feeling stressed for around 10 days every month, and men feeling stressed for around 7 days. [20,21]
- Working mothers are 40% more stressed than people without children. [22,23]
- People who are Black (73%), South Asian (77%), East Asian (85%) or White non-British (79%) are more likely to report being negatively impacted by the stress of their jobs. 
- 40% of lesbian, gay or bisexual employees, and over half (55%) of trans employees, experience conflict in the workplace, leading to increasing work stress. 
- 31% of 25-34 year olds feel work-related stress on a weekly basis, followed by 27% of 18-24 years olds, and 22% of 45-54 year olds. 
- Employees aged 25-34 are most likely to be stressed by worries over their work performance (41%) while those aged 45-54 are most likely to be affected by office politics (40%). 
Therapy is shown to help people cope with underlying feelings of anxiety, fear and stress in the workplace.
US workplace stress statistics
- Around 120,000 deaths are blamed on work-related stress each year in the US. 
- US businesses lose up to $300 billion annually because of workplace stress and the impact this has on productivity. 
- 91% of US workers say having unmanageable workplace stress negatively impacts the quality of their work. 
- Each day, there are 1 million Americans who take time off work because of workplace stress. 
- Every day in America, around 1 million employees miss work because of workplace stress. 
- 63% of U.S. workers are willing to quit their jobs to reduce job-related stress. 
- 76% of workers in the U.S. report that stress from work affects their personal relationships negatively. 
- 4 out of 5 workers (80%) report that a change in leadership affects their stress levels. 
- More than 1 in 3 workers (39%) report that workload is their main cause of stress. 
- Working women in Canada and the U.S are some of the most stressed workers in the world. 62% of working women in the U.S. and Canada reported daily feelings of stress compared with 52% of men. 
Effective measures to reduce workplace stress
- 19% of employees say that their company has no measures in place to deal with work stress. 
- 39% of companies offer work from home policies to help reduce workplace stress. [8,31]
- 37% of companies offer flexible working hours and more one-to-ones to help manage work stress. 
- 33% of companies offer counselling services for their staff to help reduce work stress. 
- Effective stress management programs can lower sickness costs by 20%. 
Spill’s take on stress at work
The impact of sustained work stress can be severe. Understanding and implementing methods of managing and lowering stress is vital to protect employee wellbeing and business health. Preventative measures can go a long way to building a healthy workplace culture.
To uncover your employees’ pain points, Spill recommends doing a stress at work risk assessment. It requires you to look into the specific risks of workplace stress at your company, and make a tangible plan on how to try and reduce these risks.
You can find our step-by-step guide on how to do a stress at work risk assessment (with a free example template) here.
What are some preventative measures you can take against work stress?
- U.K. companies are legally required to complete a workplace stress risk assessment. This assessment can help you identify primary causes of work stress in your company, and reasonable actions to take to mitigate it.
- Boost your managers’ emotional skill set by training them to identify causes of stress in their teams, and to signpost mental health resources when necessary.
- Provide flexible working conditions that increase employee autonomy, and cater to their life needs
Stress at work resources
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