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A new tracker which surveyed 2,005 UK employees about workplace stress, business resources and coping mechanisms, through YouGov, found that over a third (34 per cent) feel more stressed now than they did two years ago*.

Over half say this rise in stress levels is due to a higher workload (66 per cent). With 30 per cent putting it down to changing relationships in the workplace, and 27 per cent because of a lack of control over their work. When asked what would most relieve their stress at work, nearly a third (30 per cent) said a 4-day work week – the most popular option. This is followed by: More support from their manager (25 per cent); If there were changes to their role (i.e. less responsibility) (13 per cent); Training on managing stress (six per cent); If they had regular exercise (five per cent); If they didn’t receive emails outside of working hours (five per cent)

Adrian Moorhouse, Managing Director at Lane4 commented,

It’s interesting to think about the working week and how it’s evolved over time. A four-day working week today probably equates to the traditional five-day week of 30 years ago in terms of the amount of information we digest and the outputs we produce!

While a four-day working week may seem appealing to some, there’s a risk that it would lead to employees working flat out for those four days, which is not a healthy or sustainable approach to managing a work-life balance. In fact, it could leave people feeling more stressed.

Ultimately, no matter how many days a week we work, we will all face pressure at some point, and that shouldn’t be viewed in a negative light. When managed effectively, pressure and stress can actually drive high performance. Organisations should focus on creating a workplace where stress doesn’t become excessive, and where employees can use it to their advantage.

The research also found that 29 per cent of employees struggle to know how to relieve their stress, and one in five (20 per cent) don’t know how to challenge negative thinking when they become stressed.

Adrian Moorhouse continued,

The best approach to helping employees be resilient will be different for every company. However, organisations with resilient workforces do have things in common such as a culture where high levels of pressure are matched with high levels of support, managers who are skilled at providing that balance and easy access to relevant resources for all employees.

*The 2019 Resilience Tracker by management consultancy Lane4