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Why are UK employees stressed at work?


This April, CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, issued a survey on “Employee views on working life”. This survey has shown that overall, across the UK, the top 3 causes of stress in people lives are:

- Money worries (22%)
- The nature of their job – i.e. pressure of working hours – (22%)
- Family and relationship issues (20%)

The survey demonstrated an interesting point, that both the location of employee’s interviewed and the grade of flexibility they are granted at work have an impressive impact on the weight they place on the different causes of stress in their lives.
CIPD found that flexible workers (Londoners more so rather than the rest of the UK) are more satisfied with their jobs, report a better work-life balance as well as less exposure to excessive pressure at work.


Employees reported that the forms of flexible working most commonly provided by their employers were:

- Part-time working (6%)
- Flexi-time (34%)
- Working from home on a regular basis (24%)

Other less common forms of flexible working offered included compressed hours, career breaks, mobile working and job-sharing.

The research also highlighted the amount of time Londoners spend commuting, with the average time coming in at 47 minutes travelling to work each way, compared to the national average of 31 minutes.

This commute actually increased to 56 minutes one way if you take into consideration a combination of employees living in London and those that commute into the city from outside of the M25. 

David D’Souza, Head of CIPD London, commented, “Flexible workers are happier workers but there is still far too much focus on traditional 9-5 work cultures and an ongoing challenge of businesses placing too much value on time spent at the desk and not enough on people’s actual outputs.”

D’Souza added, “The nature of work is changing. We need real action on flexible working from Government, the new Mayor of London and from businesses. As new generations enter the labour market with different expectations about how they want to work and older generations stay in work longer, the rigid working habits too many employers still abide by will have to change.”

“The next Mayor of London should work with employers and bodies like the CIPD to lead a campaign to change attitudes, learn from best practice and expand the types of flexible working available. This should help to positively reshape work in London and open up employment opportunities for key groups who can struggle with the typical 9-5, office based working arrangement, such those who need to balance working life with caring duties and studying.”


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