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British stoicism keeps workers' stress levels down as recessionary pressures rise

British employees have proved they still have a stiff upper lip as research reveals they are showing greater resilience to recessionary pressures in the workplace than other nations.

According to a global survey undertaken by Regus of over 11,000 employees across 13 countries, 58% of workers worldwide experienced an appreciable rise in workplace stress over the past two years, but fewer Brits are feeling the strain.

The survey found British workers experienced a lower rise in stress than their international counterparts, with 48% reporting that their levels of stress have grown over the past two years - this compares with 58% of US workers and 86% of employees in China.

But the Dutch are more resilient than their British counterparts, with 47% claiming to feel more stressed.

British workers are particularly stressed by the risk of business failure or unemployment: 44% of workers confirmed that these pressures are responsible for the hike in their stress levels.

Company size has also had an influence on the level of stress experienced in recent years. More than six out of 10 employees (62%) in larger firms have reported higher levels of stress versus 42% of people in SMEs.

Sector variations on a global level were also apparent throughout the survey, with workers in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry reporting the greatest increase (65%), and retail showing least growth in stress (52%).

Mark Dixon, CEO of Regus, said: "Stress in the workforce can provide companies with real problems: management and work productivity can be seriously impaired; motivation levels may be damaged; and conflict between colleagues can undermine professionalism.

"With any of these factors in play, companies will see damage to bottom-line commercial and financial results. At a time when firms are fighting to return to significant growth, we can see why managing stress becomes a crucial issue."