Wednesday 7th was National Stress Awareness Day, so it's a good time to think about stress as a growing HR issue.
Stress is rated as the primary cause of sickness at work, and new independent research for the International Association for Stress Management suggests that more than half of us have suffered from stress at work in the last year, and one in four have needed time off as a result. Health, job satisfaction, relationships and productivity were all said to be significantly damaged by stress.
As Carole Spiers, chair of ISMA UK says of this survey: "if we were talking about a flu epidemic rather than stress at work there would be a public outcry about the scale of the problem."
Long hours were cited as the greatest source of stress, with deadline pressures, unsupportive work environment and unsatisfactory work/life balance also featuring. Perhaps most alarmingly, most of us expect this situation to get worse.
ISMA President Professor Cary Cooper commented: "Employers are always saying that people are their most valuable resource and it's time they stopped talking and did something about it."
What more should we be doing to be aware of the signs of stress early, and to respond?