Stress levels up as UK adults put in the hours at work

Employees are working and worrying more, often for no financial reward as the dowturn begins to bite, according to research from Friends Provident released today, National Stress Awareness Day.

The Britain under pressure survey found that while 25% of adults intended to put more hours in at work, UK employees are already working an average of seven hours unpaid overtime every week – losing out on a combined £23billion a year.

The research also reveals that the economic downturn has impacted on workers’ stress levels. One in eight of the 2,713 respondents said that they intended to take on a second job to earn more money, while almost two thirds (61%) of reported that they feel more stressed, run down and prone to illness than they did three years ago.

Two fifths (40%) of respondents claimed they don’t have enough time to get work-related tasks done, resulting in one in three workers not taking their full holiday entitlements due to pressure in the workplace.

More than one in ten (11%) said that the majority of stress they experience comes from work, specifically their bosses and colleagues.

Mark Jones, head of protection at Friends Provident, said: “Our research shows the credit crunch is having serious implications on the nation’s workforce, with people working and worrying more. These are tense times, and working longer – often for little or no financial reward – will add to people’s stress levels. Stress can have serious ramifications on long-term health and wellbeing, and the lifestyle impact of living a stressed and busy lifestyle – poor diet and lack of exercise in particular – is adding to the problem.”

UK workers currently work the longest hours in Europe at 43.5 hours a week, compared to 38.2 hours a week in France and 39.9 in Germany.