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Stress in the Workplace as Experienced by Men and Women

by Romana Abdin(more info)

listed in stress, originally published in issue 233 - October 2016

 

Methodology

In July 2015 Simplyhealth and YouGov launched the Everyday Health Tracker and Index.

For the Simplyhealth/YouGov Everyday Health Tracker, YouGov commissioned a survey among its online panel between 26 - 30 October 2015, drawing on a nationally representative sample of 2,019 UK adults aged 18+. This survey looked at stress in the workplace and the huge differences felt by men and women. It also explores what is causing such high levels of stress, and whether people feel they can talk to their employers about mental health issues.

Stress in the Workplace

 

A Summary of the Key Findings

  • Women were considerably more likely to suffer physical symptoms as a result of workplace stress, including, loss of appetite, palpitations, dizziness and breaking into tears;
  • One in three adults admits to an aggressive outbreak as a result of pressures at work;
  • Research reinforces ‘men don’t cry’ stereotype - only 10% of men admit to tears as a result of stress at work, compared to 43% of women;
  • The cumulative effect of longer hours and increasing workloads is the biggest pressure employees face, closely followed by not feeling valued and financial worries;
  • The issue of not feeling valued peaks at 35% amongst lower income households earning less than £40,000, compared to 27% of people with a household income of over £60,000;
  • Over half (56 per cent) of the UK workforce believe talking to senior management about a mental health issue would inhibit their career prospect;
  • Women aged 40-54 are more likely to report concerns around job security and redundancy.

Women Show More Signs of Stress as a Result of Work than do Men

  • Work is the most stressful aspect of life, according to both men and women;
  • However, women are more likely to suffer physical symptoms as a result of workplace stress; 
  • Research reinforces ‘men don’t cry’ stereotype - only 10% of men admit to tears as a result of stress at work, compared to 43% of women;
  • Sleep deprivation is biggest tell-tale sign of stress for both sexes.

 

Stress in the Workplace Results Table

 

Women and men cope with stress in markedly different ways according to this survey from Simplyhealth and YouGov. While work is identified as the biggest contributor to stress across all aspects of life for both men and women, the research shows women are far more likely to suffer from the physical symptoms of workplace stress.

Sleep deprivation is revealed as the biggest tell-tale sign of stress, with over half of UK employees (53 per cent) suffering from disturbed sleep as a result of pressures at work. However, this figure is significantly higher amongst women (59 per cent), compared to 47 per cent in men. Women are also far more likely to struggle with constant worrying as a result of stress at work, than men (49 per cent vs. 35 per cent).

In fact, women were considerably more likely to suffer from most of the symptoms outlined in the research, including, loss of appetite, palpitations, dizziness and breaking into tears. One in three adults admits to an aggressive outbreak as a result of pressures at work.

The cumulative effect of longer hours and increasing workloads is the biggest pressure employees face, closely followed by not feeling valued and financial worries. Again women appear to struggle with these issues more than men, with 24 per cent of women not feeling valued compared to 16 per cent of men. The issue of not feeling valued peaks at 35% amongst lower income households earning less than £40,000, compared to 27% of people with a household income of over £60,000.

When it comes to raising concerns, women aged 40-54 are more likely to report concerns around job security and redundancy. However, the research finds that employees across the board are unlikely to discuss workplace stress or anxiety with someone more senior. Similarly only 32% of people feel their work would be supportive if they had to take time off as a result of stress. The fact that over half (56 per cent) of the UK workforce believe talking to senior management about a mental health issue would inhibit their career prospects, may go some way to explaining people’s reluctance.

Romana Abdin, Chief Executive of Simplyhealth said: “These findings show that stress at work is a serious concern, with too many people suffering from disturbed sleep, constant worry and even panic attacks. Furthermore, it’s still seen as a taboo subject with employees and employers failing to confront the issue.

“Organizations rely on having a happy and productive workforce, so encouraging an open environment where employees feel confident to raise any concerns is far better for everyone in the long run.”

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About Romana Abdin

Romana Abdin is the CEO of SimplyHealth; she joined in 2001, taking the role of Executive Director of Corporate Affairs People as well as Company Secretary.  Having worked in private practice and in-house both in the UK and internationally within a number of FTSE 100 and mutual organisations - all whilst juggling family life with two children - Romana has led successful transactions in mergers & acquisitions and capital markets. She is one in only 4% of CEOs with a diverse professional, personal and cultural background; female and Asian. She suffered from Polio as a child, following which she has lived with and overcome personal health challenges. These circumstances have given her the insight, passion and ambition to create an organization with an inherent culture built upon a customer-focussed purpose to help people make the most of life through the very best everyday health products and services. In 2015, Romana was named The Institute of Director’s (IoD) London and South East Director of the Year 2015 for a company with an annual turnover in excess of £300 million, for which she was recognized and celebrated as one of the best business leaders in the UK. She is now shortlisted for the IoD Director of the Year National Awards. Romana may be contacted via  Tel: 0344 579 2266; pr@simplyhealth.co.uk    www.simplyhealth.co.uk

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