Brits say: Workplace stress, bullying, and violence are taking their toll

America certainly isn’t the only nation dealing with challenges to psychological health at work. Across the pond, workers in the United Kingdom face their own problems with stress, bullying, and violence on the job, as these recent studies indicate:

CIPD survey: Stress fueling long-term sick leave

Katie Allen reports for the Guardian newspaper (link here) on a survey conducted by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and SimplyHealth indicating that fear of layoffs is contributing to significant levels of employee stress:

Worries about job losses have helped stress become the most common cause of long-term sick leave in Britain, according to a report that underlines the pressures on workers in a deteriorating labour market.

Stress has overtaken other reasons for long-term absence such as repetitive strain injury and medical conditions such as cancer. Workers blame workloads and management styles….

Cardiff & Plymouth study: High levels of violence and aggression at work

A study conducted by Cardiff and Plymouth universities (link here) shows that British workers face significant levels of violence and other forms of aggression on the job:

One million Britons experienced workplace violence in the last two years, while millions more were subjected to intimidation, humiliation and rudeness, new research has shown.

Surprisingly, managers and professionals in well-paid full-time jobs are among the groups most at risk.

…The research, by Cardiff’s School of Social Sciences and Plymouth Business School, is based on face-to-face interviews with nearly 4,000 employees who were representative of the British workforce. Key findings included:

4.9 per cent had suffered violence in the workplace – the equivalent of more than 1 million workers – with 3.8 per cent injured as a result

Almost 30 per cent complained of impossible deadlines and unmanageable workloads

Nearly a quarter had been shouted at or experienced someone losing their temper

13.3 per cent had been intimidated by somebody in the workplace

CMI study: Bad management costing £19 billion per year

The November issue of the Chartered Management Institute newsletter (link here) reports that “(i)neffective management could be costing UK businesses over £19 billion per year in lost working hours.” Bullying is among the severe problems noted in the CMI survey:

The study of 2000 employees across the UK reveals that three quarters (75 per cent) of workers waste almost two hours out of their working week due to inefficient managers. Worst management practices responsible for time lost include unclear communication (33 per cent); lack of support (33 per cent); micro-management (26 per cent); and lack of direction (25 per cent).

…Alarmingly, the research also highlights that 13% of those surveyed have witnessed managers exhibiting discriminatory behaviour towards employees based on gender, race, age or sexual orientation and almost one third (27%) have witnessed managers bullying or harassing their employees.

2 responses

  1. David,
    Thank you very much for publishing this information. Harm to all is apparent. Even the employers are having negative consequences for behavior they allow or perpetrate. Hopefully your making information available to more can wake some of them up/

    • The statistics are highlight the size of the problem. HR gurus state the employees are the organization’s most valuable asset so why do managers don’t manage when bullying and harrassment is brought to their attention.
      From personal experience having a policy and procedure is worthless unless the individual receiving a complaint(s) is prepared to act according the intent of the policy (zero tolerance).
      One complaint is too many and ten surely means that the perpetrator was not dealt with appropriately (name of oganization withheld) and the organization is left to pick up cost of helping targets recover firstly,their health and then their trust and confidence that the workplace is again a safe place to be.

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