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Workers doing nothing to relieve stress

Time and money cited as obstacles to employees relieving work-related stress

Around half (48%) of British workers do little or nothing to relieve work-related stress, according to research from educational website Obby.

Of the 1,015 employed UK adults surveyed, the majority (65%) claimed a lack of free time was the biggest obstacle, while a fifth (20%) said that money got in the way of taking time out for relaxing activities.

Workers in professional services struggle the most to do anything to relieve stress, with 58% saying they don’t do anything, closely followed by those in education (55%) and healthcare (53%).

The survey suggested employers could do more to tackle the issue. While just 19% of UK workers said their employer provides healthy ways to de-stress as part of their ‘perks’ package, 79% said they would welcome activities to help them de-stress in the office.

Exercise and sport topped the poll of the best activities for reducing work-based stress (44%), followed by engaging in hobbies and personal interests (39%), and spending time with family and friends (35%).

Commenting on the research, Tom Batting, co-founder of Obby, said that employees can become caught in a ‘vicious cycle’ surrounding stress.

“It’s worrying how many workers claim they do not prioritise getting the stress relief that is so important for maintaining mental health. The irony is that this can actually become a vicious cycle – if we don’t make time for stress relief this can lead to becoming more stressed or even burnout, both of which can reduce productivity further,” he said.

“As such it’s in bosses’ interests to ensure that employees actually do take measures to manage their stress levels – whether that’s communicating how important this is, allowing them flexi-time so that they can attend whatever activity it is they do to relieve stress, or even providing company-sponsored classes or workshops.

“As well as reducing stress this can positively affect an employee's focus, concentration and efficiency in the workplace. We see this time and again; employers who provide workers with healthy and stress-busting ‘perks’ like yoga, meditation or even arts and crafts workshops reap the rewards in a more productive – and satisfied – workforce.”