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HR managers most likely to take time off because of stress

Employees feel under-valued and pressurised, with many using alcohol and drugs to ‘unwind’ at the end of the day

Nine out of 10 (90%) workers do not feel adequately trained to handle their workload, with HR managers topping the list of occupations most likely to take time off due to stress.

The study by Step One Recovery found that 21% of Brits have taken time off work because of stress, with a further 57% reporting having experienced feelings of stress in the workplace. When it came to higher earners, 97% of Brits earning more than £100,000 a year don’t think their colleagues realise the amount of stress they have to cope with on a daily basis.

HR managers (35%), shop floor workers (30%), doctors (29%), IT managers (25%) and teachers (21%) were found to be the most likely to take time off because of stress.

The research also revealed that a fifth (20%) of employees feel under-valued at work, with more than nine out of 10 (93%) Brits who earn less than £20,000 a year stating they are paid too little for the amount of stress they are put under.

Worryingly, 20% of respondents admitted using alcohol as a way to deal with stress, while 3% admitted using recreational drugs.

Claire Cheek, director at Step One Recovery, said: “Stress affects people in different ways, and for some can cause both physical and mental exhaustion, known as ‘burnout'. Professionals with perfectionist and controlling tendencies are far more likely to be affected by burnout as they thrive on stress and adrenaline.

"This in turn can lead to self-medication; using alcohol and drugs to ‘unwind’ at the end of the day or even during the work day such as drinking at lunchtime. Employers often put apparent addiction issues down to stress and anxiety, if they recognise them at all. It is estimated that 20% of alcoholics are highly functioning, but if they continue, one day it all catches up with them."

Speaking to HR magazine, Cheek added that HR managers have a particularly stressful role as they must regularly deal with sensitive, confidential information and may not feel as though they are supported in the workplace.

Cheek recommended that employers focus on preventative measures, such as promoting time management skills, meditation, and exercise to avoid burnout and associated drug and alcohol use.

Step One Recovery surveyed 2,000 UK employees.