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More than a third of UK workers have considered quitting their job due to stress

Photo: Ahmad Gunnaivi/Unsplash
79% of people have experienced stress at work. Photo: Ahmad Gunnaivi/Unsplash

One in three Brits have considered leaving a job due to stress, with one in five desiring mental health support more than a pay rise, research shows.

According to new research commissioned for Stress Awareness Week by not-for-profit organisation Investors in People, around eight in 10 (79%) people have experienced stress at work. More than a third (35%) have even considered leaving their current job because of work-related stress.

Heavy workloads, tight deadlines, ill-equipped managers and poor working environments all contribute to high pressures in the workplace.

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And it seems leaving our problems at work at the end of the day is increasingly hard to do in an “always-on” culture. More than half (54%) of employees say they have experienced work-related stress while at home.

If left untreated, these pressures can cause workers to suffer serious mental health problems. At the very least, the result is a less efficient workforce, with more than three quarters (78%) admitting they are less productive when feeling stressed.

More than a quarter (27%) of those surveyed felt their employer did not support their mental well-being, and just 30% agreed their workplace had a culture of openness around mental health.

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A fifth (20%) felt so strongly about the issue they said they would rather have workplace support for their mental health than a 3% pay rise.

In 2017/18, 15.4 million days were lost to mental health-related issues, according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive, while a recent report by Stevenson and Farmer suggested that poor mental health could be costing the economy £99bn a year.

Investors in People said it believes more employers need to properly train their line managers in how to support team members’ mental health with a focus on listening to their concerns, adopting a flexible attitude and ensuring that solutions are tailored to the person’s particular needs.

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Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People, said: “We want HR Managers to feel empowered in their ability to design mental health policies as standard in their workplace. This should not just be an afterthought or a ‘nice to have’ but central to a company’s brand values.

“Business leaders who fail to see the importance will suffer with high staff turnarounds and difficulty in recruiting the right talent as the demand for support continues to increase.”

The charity also encouraged employees who have a mental health concerns to speak up “as soon as they feel comfortable to do so, as employers can only help if they are made fully aware of the situation”.

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“Building open and honest relationships at work and being pro-active is also key to ensuring that employees’ get the support they need,” it said.