Work-related stress costs UK economy £28 billion – employers warned

April 19, 2024

Poor mental health among UK employees is costing the UK economy £28 billion each year – and accounts for around 51 per cent of long-term sick leave.

April marks Stress Awareness Month and has been held annually since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic.

A recent report (by Mental Health First Aid England) has revealed that almost half of UK workers are ‘running on empty,’ with burnout, mental ill health, and work-related stress also taking its toll on the economy.

Many aspects of life can cause stress, but mental health and wellbeing in the workplace should be a focus for business leaders and employers; says Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment.

Managing director Nel Woolcott said: “We know that the landscape of the workplace has changed dramatically over the past few years – primarily as a result of the pandemic.

“These changes will undoubtedly have had an impact on people who may have found it difficult to adapt to different ways of working and this may have silently taken its toll.

“Every employee deserves an open, safe, and supportive workplace and as recruiters we are very fortunate to have a client base we work with that reflects this.

“We also work closely with HR leaders, their teams, and a host of other specialists who provide and share invaluable learning and knowledge

“Unlocking the value of positive employee mental health is vital for a happy, healthy and productive workforce.

According to the MHFA report:

Poor mental health accounts for more than half of all work-related illnesses. Around 51% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression, or anxiety.

Employees are reporting increased workplace intensity and more significant pressure at work:

– 55% of workers feel that work is getting more intense and demanding.

– 61% of workers say they feel exhausted at the end of most working days.

– One in five UK workers reported feeling unable to manage stress and pressure in the workplace.
– A third of managers feel out of their depth supporting their team with mental health concerns.


Nel added: “There are some simple yet effective ways which leaders can help combat stress in the workplace.”

Offer extra support:

Providing wellbeing support for staff is essential for many different reasons. It allows them to explore different perspectives, have someone to talk to in confidence, and provides a safe space to discuss their mental health challenges, like stress.

Recognise the signs of stress and communicate to your staff:

Recognising when one of your colleagues is struggling with stress allows you to mitigate and help that individual quickly and appropriately.

Be vigilant for signs and symptoms of stress within the workplace and among your team.

Here are some signs of stress to watch out for:

  • High staff turnover
  • Aggression
  • Reduced focus and concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Increased sickness absence
  • Arguments within the workplace


Having open and honest conversations with colleagues about their mental health is essential for mitigating stress and reducing the risk of burnout in your people.

Create spaces where your colleagues can comfortably have open and honest conversations with you and the leaders in your organisation, such as a wellbeing room and comfort spaces.


Notes to editors:

Based in Peterborough, Anne Corder Recruitment has been established for just over 25 years, has been ISO accredited for more than two decades and are trusted members of leading professional organisations such as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP).

For more information, please contact