Anxious UK workers toss and turn at night

May 04 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

A third of British workers cannot get to sleep at night because of anxiety, and three-quarters cannot switch off when they leave their office, new research has concluded.

The study by the Samaritans comes as the organisation has launched a series of roadshows to help HR professionals and managers cope better with stress and emotional issues in the workplace.

The eight free WorkLife roadshows, launched in Edinburgh, aim to give businesses a taster of what advice Samaritans can offer managers or team members on dealing with stress related difficulties in the workplace.

This includes "active listening skills" and the use of a series of fictional characters to enable participants to explore challenging work situations without having to disclose their own experiences.

The poll of 1,500 workers found that more than eight out of 10 valued "having management staff who were easy to approach" as the key factor in creating a good working environment.

Flexible working came next, at 74.7 per cent, with workers in the north east voting it the most important factor at 82.8 per cent.

Sales, marketing and media professionals, perhaps unsurprisingly, rated having a relaxed dress code highly (which was much less important for financial services professionals).

They also felt an active social scene was important at 53.7 per cent, unlike healthcare workers, where only 29.8 per cent rated it.

The survey also showed that the most popular way of handling stress was to have a cup of tea, but the second most popular was to take a "sickie".

The Welsh were more likely to take a sickie while Londoners would surf the internet and make personal calls.

Those in the south-west of England were most likely to pop out for a cigarette break to combat stress.

Overall, the survey found 11 per cent of workers polled felt bosses did not care about their welfare, one in five felt their bosses lacks training in handling employees' personal matters and more than one in five said their boss lacked the personality to do this.