We all want to be happy at work, finding the right balance between work and personal life is difficult for some of us. We often hear friends tell us they are working 60 hour weeks and feel under pressure to go above and beyond because of the pressure of keeping heir job. Some industries are known for high pressured work environments. But what are the real costs of feelings under pressure at work? I’m not quite sure when it became the case that working long hours actually meant a more productive work force, in fact it's the opposite. Staff members who experience disproportionate amounts of stress in the work place are less likely to be productive, either through absenteeism or presenteeism. Data collected from Labour Force Survey (LFS) found;
· The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers.
· The number of new cases was 234,000 , an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
· The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case.
· In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
· Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education health and social care; and public administration and defence.
· By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as health; teaching; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
· The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress were workload pressures, including tight deadlines, too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.
Stress at work often leads to burnout, feeling physically and mentally unable to continue at work. Burnout is known to occur across various occupational groups, however, it has been found to be more prevalent, and a risk factor, amongst care service employees that work within emotionally demanding environments .There is also substantial evidence in the literature supporting the link between high levels of work related stress and subsequent adverse health outcomes, as reflected in meta-analysis studies (Van Der Doef and Maes, 1998, Nixon et al., 2011).
Noticing signs of stress in yourselves can be a starting point to clam things down, ask for support from your colleagues and share the workload. You can help notice stress in others as well to support them. Lets think about some of the common signs someone is getting stressed at work;
· They may become more irritable and angry for no reason
· They may withdraw, isolate themselves and seem distant
· Their work might begin to suffer, they may miss deadlines or the quality of their work might seem below their usual standard
· They may seem physically different, such as losing weight, looking tired and fatigued
Keep an eye out for some of these signs and take proactive steps to mange your stress differently and prevent it becoming more serious.
Van der Doef, M., & Maes, S. (1998). The job demand-control (-support) model and physical health outcomes: A review of the strain and buffer hypotheses. Psychology and health, 13(5), 909-936.