Survey Points to Rampant Workplace Depression

According to a national research project conducted by various universities throughout the United Kingdom, millions of U.K. workers are likely to be suffering from depression and panic attacks because of workplace stress.

This is one of the key findings of the latest 24-7 survey – a Web-based poll conducted by the Work Life Center and the universities of Keele, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

Out of the 3,300 workers who participated in the survey, two-thirds of the respondents reported getting sick because of work, with 48 percent suffering from depression and 43 percent suffering from anxiety or panic attacks.

Julie Hurst, director of the Work Life Balance Center, said that while many more people are enjoying their jobs, the number of people experiencing job burnout and stress also has increased.

“Our relationship with work continues to be a complex one,” she said. “ ... Depression and anxiety have become a silent epidemic in the workplace and yet there is so much that can be done to reduce both problems.”

Some of the other findings include:

  • Eight out of 10 people have a problem juggling the competing demands of work and home.
  • Eight in 10 workers feel that at times they cannot cope with the demands placed upon them.
  • Women (69.6 percent) were even more likely to feel this way than men (63 percent), although both figures have increased in the last 12 months.
  • Many people work over their contracted hours (one in 10 works a minimum of 49 hours a week, while only one in 100 is contracted to do so). Most do so to keep up with their workloads.
  • More than half of workers find their daily commute adds to the stress of their day.
  • Stressed workers were nine times more likely to make a mistake at work.
  • A third of employees resent the hours they work, and more than a quarter miss family and social occasions for work.
  • One in five do not see as much of their children as they would like, and have felt their marriage or partnership has been damaged by work.

Some Workers Enjoy the Challenges of Their Jobs

The survey also reported that more than half of workers ensure that their line of work doesn't dominate their lives. Some workers stated they feel more fulfilled when busy and enjoy the challenges of their jobs.

Despite the higher stress levels, women generally feel more positive about work than men. Almost three-fourths of bosses are sympathetic to time off or changes to work schedules to help deal with family or caring responsibilities.

Hurst said she is planning to distribute the survey's findings all over the world to help companies and other organizations formulate better policies and practices for their work forces.

The report is available at http://www.24-7survey.co.uk.

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