Having a bad day at work and feeling as if you're not coping? If the answer's yes, then you're not alone.
IT professionals are buckling under the pressure of stress, according to new research - and it's costing UK plc millions of pounds every year in sick days and poor productivity.
As National Stress Awareness Day kicks off today, a study from Investors in People found that 93 per cent of IT employers said stress is a key barrier to productivity, compared with an all-industry average of 80 per cent. The education sector came in with 90 per cent and 81 per cent in financial services.
Similarly, new figures from the International Stress Management Association found that 53 per cent of people had suffered from stress at work.
It's a problem that's costing UK plc £7 billion a year in absences and lost productivity, according to figures from the CBI.
Long hours, work overload, deadline pressures, an unsupportive work environment and problems maintaining an acceptable blance of work and life are the major factors blamed.
One in four workers said they had needed time off work as a result.
Professor Colin Coulson Thomas, chairman of the judging panel for the Ebusiness Innovation Awards blamed the fast evolving nature of the IT industry for its inherently stressful nature.
"The speed of development and the nature of the highly competitive environment all contribute to factors that inflict stress on people working in IT."
Outsourced HR services company, e-peopleserve, is one company that is trying to tap into the market for stress management services to help companies get the best from their employees and ultimately improve the bottom line.
The e-peopleserve package includes stress assessment, prevention and stress counselling services from legal advice to alcohol and drug abuse and childcare.
"The reality is that stress is proving very costly to business," said Bruce Greenhalgh, stress management manager. "Employers are also becoming more aware of the risks of litigation of stress cases. For every one that makes the headlines there are at least another ten that are settled out of court."
Greenhalgh has a few simple words of advice for those feeling the pressure. "There are little things people can do, for example with email, turn off the sound that tells you every time an email pops into your mailbox and limit yourself to checking your mail at certain times in the day. Handle each email just once then delete it or file it."
He also warns that it is time for companies to treat the issue as a business problem rather than sweep it under the carpet. "Good employers should be prepared to listen and employees need to be prepared to talk."
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