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New Acas report reveals that two thirds of UK workers have felt stressed or anxious about work

Monday 13 May 2019

A new report from workplace experts, Acas, has revealed that two thirds of workers (66%) have felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year.

Acas commissioned YouGov to ask employees in Great Britain about their experiences of stress and anxiety in the workplace. The most common reasons given for the way they felt included workloads (60%), the way that they were managed (42%) and balancing home and work lives (35%).

Acas Chief Executive, Susan Clews, said:

"According to our poll, the majority of workers have felt stressed or anxious about work over the past year. This is a cause for concern and it's clear that active steps need to be taken to support the wellbeing of all staff.

"Our study found that seven out of ten employees believe it is a line manager's role to recognise and address stress or anxiety at work but only two fifths said that they would talk to their manager about it.

"It is clear that many people feel unable to have these conversations with their managers or choose to struggle alone. Acas has advice on how to create a positive mental health environment at work."

Acas has produced a framework for positive mental health at work, which outlines the roles that employers, managers and their staff can play to help make it happen.

The advice includes suggestions such as employers leading on a wellbeing strategy at work; supporting and training managers to have the confidence and knowledge in managing mental health; and workers identifying personal stress triggers, supporting colleagues and asking for help when needed.

The framework and full policy paper Stress and anxiety at work: personal or cultural? is available here:

Notes to editors

  1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,000 employed adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 28th March - 8th April 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size. When asked whose role it is to recognise and address stress and feelings of anxiety at their workplace, 72% said 'the manager of each employee'. In response to another question, 43% identified their own manager as somebody they would talk to if they were feeling stressed and/or anxious about work.
  2. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, fear, nervousness or unease about something. It may be caused by issues in the workplace, such as workload, performance or conflict with colleagues. Outside the workplace, factors such as relationship, family or debt problems can create anxiety. For Acas advice on managing anxiety at work, please see:
  3. Stress is defined as the 'adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.' Stress can affect the health of staff, reduce their productivity and lead to performance issues. For Acas advice on managing stress at work, please see:
  4. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  5. For media enquiries please contact Shumon Ali-Rahman on 0330 109 3642 / For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 0330 109 7070.