Four in 10 people close to 'breaking point' at work, research claims

'Finding ways to manage your stress is essential, it is also worth addressing the root causes of your stress to try to manage the source rather than just treat the symptoms'

Astrid Hall
Thursday 10 October 2019 12:12 BST

Four in 10 adults are close to ‘breaking point’ at work, according to a new poll of 2,000 professionals which found they felt stressed for almost a third of their entire working day.

Five hours of sleep are lost every week because of the pressures faced in their job, the survey claimed.

Checking work emails after hours, last-minute deadlines, having to do a speech or presentation and an overly demanding manager were named as some of the biggest causes of workplace stress.

The poll also found seven in 10 had vented about their workplace to a colleague, partner, family member or friend.

Three in 10 respondents had been pushed to the point of tears and one in five had turned to alcohol to try and mask their issues.

“Everyone will experience pressure day-to-day," said Richard Jenkins, psychologist and spokesman for wellbeing charity CABA, which commissioned the poll. “A level of pressure can actually make us work better, however too much pressure and that rises to an unmanageable level leads to stress.

“The working public needs to know how to manage their pressure to avoid reaching boiling point. Some people cope by blowing off steam through physical activity like the gym or going for a run, while for others things like breathing exercises can help.

“Everyone will have a tactic that they find works better to help them release the pressure.

“Unfortunately, in many cases we don’t introduce these decompressing moments in our lives which can help release the pressure and reduce stress. Finding ways to manage your stress is essential, it is also worth addressing the root causes of your stress to try to manage the source rather than just treat the symptoms.”

A total of 46 per cent of those polled said they had felt stressed at work but did not end up doing anything about it, hoping the problem would go away on its own.

Of those who had taken action, 38 per cent had told their manager about it, while 51 per cent went for a walk to cool down.

When stress became too much, 31 per cent said they had called in sick, while 14 per cent had used their own children as an excuse to avoid the office.

But six in 10 said the felt better once they complained or vented about their workplace if their stress levels got too high.

Monday was found to be the day workers were most likely to experience workplace stress - with Thursdays generally being the least stressful day of the week.

Nearly three in five respondents said they got stressed when they went on holiday as they worried about organising a handover and what they would miss during their break.

“If too much workplace pressure means stress reaches a level that you feel unable to even go to work, it’s time to make a change," a spokesman for CABA said. “The first, and often most difficult, step can be to simply talk about it with someone, be it a colleague, manager or just a family member.

“Sometimes just acknowledging that you have too much on can start to address the stress.”


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