Over half of Britons have taken time off work due to stress




A recent UK study has revealed that 9 in 10 Britons have felt stressed at work, with more than half (53%) having taken time off work as a direct result. What’s more, it was found that three quarters of these respondents (74%) revealed that their boss reacted negatively towards this time off.  

Keeping employees relaxed and happy may be difficult, a new study has revealed; with more than half of Britons having taken 6 days off work due to stress, on average. What's more, only 1 in 5 business owners know how to handle stress in the workplace.   

The team at Equipsme conducted the research in a bid to find out more about the mental wellbeing of employees across the country. A total of 2,103 adults from the UK were quizzed as part of the study. All respondents revealed that they had a full-time job, which they’d worked in for at least 2 years, prior to the poll.  

All participants were initially asked, “Have you ever felt stressed at work?”, to which 9 in 10 respondents (91%) stated they had. Everyone was then asked if they had ever taken time off from work due to stress, with 53% revealing they had done so.  

These respondents were next questioned about how much time they had taken off work for this reason. Taking all answers into account, researchers found that the average Briton has previously taken six days off work due to stress.

When asked how their boss had reacted to this time off, three quarters (74%) of those who had been honest about their reason for absence admitted that their boss had acted negatively, with 6% of these respondents stating they had been threatened with dismissal.  22% lied about their reason for being off and didn’t confess to feeling stressed.

95% of participants said that they thought more could be done to help those suffering from stress induced issues, with 88% saying they think councillors or stress support should be readily available for employees.  

To find out more, researchers next polled 578 business owners, all of whom were based in the UK, to find out how they deal with employees' stress levels. These respondents had at least 10 employees.  

Firstly, the business owners were asked if they knew how to deal with employees who were stressed at work, to which just 1 in 5 (22%) said they did, 46% said that they had 'some idea' of what to do and the remaining 32% admitted they had 'no idea'. 



When asked if they had ever acted negatively towards a stressed employee, 62% admitted that they had; with 27% of these saying they acted this way as they didn't think it was a big deal.  

Finally, the participants who owned a business were asked "If an employee came to you today and said they were having a hard time with work, they were stressed and felt overwhelmed, how would you deal with this situation?" Respondents were posed with a list of possible answers, with the following five answers emerging as the most common responses: 

1.       I would listen to what they had to say and try and help them myself – 27% 

2.       I would lessen their workload temporarily – 20% 

3.       I would tell them to continue working and speak to me again if the issue persists – 19% 

4.       I would tell them to see a professional qualified to deal with their problems – 16% 

5.       I would listen but ultimately, I'd tell them to get back to work – 13% 


Matthew Reed, founder of Equipsme, commented on the results of the study: 

"As an employer, it can be quite a challenge to know exactly what to do when an employee comes to you with a personal problem, especially if it’s related to stress. Everyone gets stressed from time to time, but as an employer it's our job to ensure that workplace stress is taken seriously. We all want happy employees and ignoring the issue or threatening stressed staff with dismissal certainly isn't going to help anyone. Employers should consider getting health packages that include stress support so their employees can get professional help should they want it.” 



Emily CorleyComment