More and more Brits feel stressed and overworked

New data suggests that more than one in three overworked Brits now feel that their workload is unmanageable, signalling a burgeoning mental health crisis in the UK workforce.

The data, released by employee engagement consultant People Insight, found that 34% of employees believe their workload is unmanageable, marking an increase of 7% compared with the previous year.

The research, compiled from People Insight’s in-depth, cross-sector employee engagement surveys, coincides with new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that reveal a growing employment crisis in the UK. These figures show heightened levels of unemployment, long-term sickness, and a rising number of those of working age leaving the labour market at a post-pandemic high.

49% of those surveyed by People Insight revealed that they often feel stressed or tense in the workplace, while 34% stated that their employer does not provide sufficient support for their mental health and wellbeing.

Head of Consultancy Kate Pritchard said that more needs to be done to safeguard employees' mental health and wellbeing to prevent more from leaving the workforce.

“It may have been the buzzword during the pandemic, but the experiences we all had at that time and in the years following have been truly unprecedented,” Pritchard said. “We have lived through years of uncertainty, navigating largely unknown territory and, as a result there have been seismic shifts in the world of work.

“But as these figures show, this is about more than the remote working vs. return to the office debate. We’ve seen a shift in the way that employees view work and the impact that it has on their mental health, their wellbeing, and their personal lives.

“Employees' expectations have undeniably risen since the pandemic. Mental health remains a top priority for employees trying to maintain a work-life balance and with nearly 20% of our waking hours spent at work, there is an expectation that our employers have an important role to play in safeguarding that,” Pritchard explains.

“The fact remains that as our data has shown, more staff are experiencing stress in the workplace whether that’s through a perceived lack of support or through unmanageable workloads. This is where thorough and detailed employee insights are a vital tool for employers to not only connect with their staff but to better understand and address the pinch points that can often be the deciding factor in an employees decision to resign.”

People Insight recently launched its Trends Report - a deep dive into the state of business leadership in the UK. The report emphasised the need for better connection between leaders and their employees with data showing a rise in the number of employees who don’t feel properly valued or listened to by their organisation as well as a sharp rise in the number of workers dissatisfied with their level of pay.

And, as Pritchard explains, connected leadership and a focus on psychological safety is key in positively shaping the employee experience.

“There are a host of factors that can impact employee experience, but the core should always be leadership. We saw many great examples of organisational leadership during Covid, we need to get back to those same levels of connection, communication, and fairness.”