heart-disease-stressResearch from Canada Life Group has found that 61% of UK employees that were surveyed felt that 2012 was more stressful than 2011.

The prospects for 2013 does look slightly more positive with 30% of the 1,613 people surveyed expecting it to be less stressful than the previous year. However it is more concerning that 22% of workers who experienced problems with stress in 2012 were too afraid of embarrassed to ask for help.

The study also revealed that 48% felt that their worries and concerns impacted negatively on their working life, with 10% admitting to taking time off work as a consequence. Furthermore, 31% said that they suffered from lower concentration levels and productivity as a result.

When asked if their employer was understanding, 20% said ‘yes’, with 8% receiving help through an Employee Assistance Programme. Despite these positive figures, 17% said that they received no support from their employer, even though they had informed them of their anxieties.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director of Canada Life Group, said:

“It is worrying that problems within the workplace were also a major cause of anxiety last year. Employers should take note that this caused one in ten of the UK employees we surveyed to take time off work, while many saw a negative effect on their concentration levels and productivity.

“These statistics clearly demonstrate it is in an employer’s interest to take issues involving stress seriously.

“An employee should never feel too embarrassed to let their boss know the damaging effect stress is having on their life. Now is the time for employers to reassess how they support their workers in terms of stress, making sure that access to Employee Assistance Programmes is well publicised and without stigma.”