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Workers more stressed now than in Coronation year

In spite of better living standards, greater personal affluence and a shorter average working week, workers today are more stressed than they were 60 years ago in the Queen's Coronation year, according to new research.

A special Work Audit by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has thrown up some startling comparisons between today's workplace and that of 60 years ago.

In the 1950s, men made up two-thirds of the workforce, with almost all men of working age in employment (96%). Today, the number of men of working age who are in work has dropped to just 75%, while the proportion of working women has risen from 46% to 66% since the late 1950s. Unemployment has risen, too, from 2.2% of the workforce in 1952 to 5.5% today, while the number of households where nobody works has skyrocketed from just 4% to 18.8%.

But why are we so much more stressed now than we were in 1952? Reported rates of stress have increased dramatically over the last few decades and a number of factors would appear to be behind this. Certainly, the spectre of unemployment and lack of job security have contributed to rising stress levels and have served to undermine our trust in and dedication to our employers. The report also suggests that the boom in digital technology could be partly to blame, with workers feeling overloaded by information on the one hand and under persistent surveillance by employers on the other.

Spotting the early signs of stress can help safeguard the wellbeing of your employees and reduce the risk to your business of long-term absence and ill-health. Acas provides practicalguidance and training on how to recognise stress and manage it effectively, looking at both the law and good practice on dealing with stress in the workplace.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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