Stress in the Workplace

Stress in the workplace is a major issue but together we can successfully manage it, prevent it and comply with the law. Stress in the workplace develops because a person is unable to cope with the demands being placed on them. Stress, including stress in the workplace, can be a significant cause of illness and is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as more errors.

Work related stress, anxiety and depression statistics in Great Britain 2016

The latest stress in the workplace statistical estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show:

  • The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2015/16 was 488,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 workers.
  • The number of new cases was 224,000, an incidence rate of 690 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
  • The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015/16 was 11.7 million days. This equated to an average of 23.9 days lost per case. Working days lost per worker showed a generally downward trend up to around 2009/10; since then the rate has been broadly flat.
  • In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.
  • Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
  • By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as healthcare workers; teaching professionals; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
  • The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support

We have developed a number of processes that have been specifically designed to analyse physiological data to identify stress in the workplace and provide health and fitness programmes.  It is possible to assess a team or an individual’s ability to perform to a required standard whilst operating in a stressful environment which may include tasks within a natural working or training situation.  This has been developed to be complimentary to current health and well-being occupational health programmes and fitness regimes.

Northamptonshire Police Scientific Support Department

Northamptonshire Police Scientific Support Department is at the forefront of measuring stress in the workplace within UK Policing.  Dr John Bond, their departmental manager, actively encouraged all staff members to participate in the research.  UNISON (staff association) representatives were consulted and participated themselves.  Crime Scene Investigators and Fingerprint Bureau experts wore the physiological monitoring device for a set of shifts whilst undertaking their normal daily duties.

The aim of this assessment was to determine which activities during an individual’s normal daily work were likely to cause stress.

Dr John Bond, Departmental Manager, Northamptonshire Police Scientific Support Department provided the following testimonial regarding the physiological monitoring of his staff:

"It has been well known for quite some time that the role of a Crime Scene Investigator is a stressful one and, to counter this, we have in place measures to reduce stress and its effect on both the well-being of the individual and their performance as a CSI. Now, for the first time, with the assistance of A E Solutions, we have been able to quantify this stress and to identify accurately situations that cause our staff to become stressed and the extent to which this is occurring. Also, very importantly, we have been able to measure stress levels in groups not thought of traditionally as being exposed to stress in the same way as CSI's are. In particular, we have been able to measure stress levels in our Fingerprint Experts and this information is extremely valuable in assessing the situations that not only cause them stress but also that might affect their ability to correctly identify finger marks - something that would have dire consequences for the legal system. I have no doubt that the use of Bio analytics to monitor stress levels will become the norm in many areas of police work in the UK".