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Workplace Bullying Rife

“Positive workplaces are a big factor in keeping everyone emotionally healthy. There is not enough openness and that is what Stress Down Day is all about; encouraging employers and employees to speak out and discuss problems before they escalate.”

Young employees (18-24 years) are most vulnerable to stress, with 38% feeling less likely than all other age groups to talk openly to their managers and 57% unable to talk to colleagues. Forty-eight percent are more likely to be bullied by clients and customers whereas over half of other age groups reported being bullied by their managers.

Occupation has a major influence on stress, with over 40% of IT workers, retailers, caterers and engineers feeling unsupported at work and over half unable to deal with stress, compared with people in health, education, banking and finance over half of whom claim they receive adequate support at work.

Samaritans Stressed Out survey also shows that:-

1 49% of people are worried about the affect stress is having on their health, compared with 44% of people last year

2 32% of workers feel their employers turn a blind eye to the problem of stress and 43% feel their bosses try to get as much out of them as possible, regardless of their stress levels

3 Over half have seen colleagues cry over pressure and 83% would rather say they were sick with flu or another problem rather than admit they were stressed

4 There is still a large gender imbalance when it comes to sharing domestic stress; with three quarters of women in the UK taking sole responsibility for domestic tasks

Professor Cary Cooper of Lancaster University, an internationally recognised expert in the field of workplace stress, said: “These results really disturb me. Shouldn't we be managing people by reward and praise rather than by fault finding and bullying?

“We know that dealing with difficult people issues can be lonely and frustrating. The message from Samaritans is that you are not alone. Employees need more support from work colleagues and line managers and everyone needs coping skills to help them deal with everyday pressures.”

Samaritans is experienced in workplace issues and provides a 24 hour confidential support service by phone and email. The charity also runs WorkLife, a training course to tackle stress in the workplace and provide practical skills for managers and team members. Log on to www.samaritans.org for more information. A CD-ROM of the course is also available.

Samaritans surveyed 2,100 adults in the UK and 500 adults in the Republic of Ireland, through nfpSynergy between the 12th and 30th November 2007. Samaritans is encouraging people to wear their slippers to work on Stress Down Day, to find out more about the day and how to buy Samaritans' exclusive monster slippers visit www.stressdownday.org.

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