We may be facing a stress epidemic according to a shocking new study. 44% of Brits admitted to feeling stressed, with almost half of these cases going on to develop into issues such as anxiety and depression.

The study by Bupa (a private insurance company) revealed some chilling statistics and it’s not just isolated to big cities. Across the UK, over 6 million people are currently suffering from stress, with 28% reporting they have been feeling this way for over a year. Even more concerning is that 27% of people said they feel on the brink of a breakdown!

Why are we so stressed?

Those surveyed cited money worries and day to day work pressures as primary causes for their sky rocketing stress levels. This is not too surprising with the cost of living on the rise and jobs seemingly difficult to come by.

People across the UK are feeling increasingly anxious about making ends meat, their job security and finding a work life balance. Other major factors contributing to this nationwide stress crisis include family life and long term illness.

The cost of stress

Business is certainly not entirely to blame for this rampant spread of stress. However, whether companies should or shouldn’t morally bear the cost is not really the point. Whatever its cause, stress is affecting UK companies at a staggering rate. Research conducted found that employers across Britain are losing £460 million per day due to stress! Around 10 and a half million working days are lost per annum and presenteeism (when staff attend work when they are not fit do so) is on the rise.

The effects of employee stress on business and the economy are no longer abstract but frighteningly tangible. We are witnessing prolonged bouts of decreased productivity and efficiency and increased levels of serious mistakes and injury. Additionally, stress is a precursor to mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression as well as physical health problems including heart disease and obesity. When your staff are suffering from harmful health issues like this your business will be suffering too.

The great thing about tackling stress in the workplace is it has a pretty impressive ROI. For every £1 business invests in employee wellbeing there is a £3-£6 gain in productivity and efficiency. That’s a 300%-600% ROI, which I can safely say is not something you see every day.

Let’s stress less

Luckily, this is not one of those unsolvable issues life so often presents and there are many ways employers can chip away at staff stress. Businesses can take action by offering increased support, enforcing frequent short breaks or getting staff active.

Here at Approved Index we pride ourselves on treating employee wellbeing as a top priority. It is unavoidable and even healthy to experience stress in moderation, but we know if unresolved the cost can be great. To keep stress levels low and productivity high staff are offered flexible working hours, free yoga, generous annual leave and birthday massages. The options are endless and the best part is the more you give the more you reap. Turns out mum was right and being nice pays off.