While high-pressure situations can bring out the best in people, British businesses could be losing in excess of £1 billion in direct costs due to stressed-out workers taking time off.

New research by Business Environment, a leading serviced office provider, shows that as many as one in five employees (19.6%) has taken time off work due to stress, with more than a quarter (28.8%) saying they feel stressed at work all, or most of, the time.

So keen to prove their ability to get the job done, one fifth (21%) of employees take work home at least one to two times a week with factors such as unrealistic deadlines, pressure from above and lack of support cited as the biggest culprits in causing stress.

Unsurprisingly the back to work blues make Monday the most stressful day of the week for more than a third of workers (36.06%), while Thursday is voted the calmest day in the office.

The findings underline the negative effects stress can have in the workplace. As many as one in twelve (7.87%) admit that they have shouted at a colleague as a result of stress, while 3.4% have thrown something across the room and 2% said they have sworn in front of a client or customer.

David Saul, managing director at Business Environment, said: “Many companies have slipped into creating a culture where employees are expected to work all hours at any cost. This research clearly shows that this is actually having a detrimental effect, not only on employee health and wellbeing, but also on the wider business with billions being lost in days taken off sick.

“I believe all employers have a responsibility to challenge the status quo and cultivate an office environment where employees feel supported by senior staff and able to voice concerns before stress levels go through the roof. Of course, there will be times when employees are required to go above and beyond, but this should never be at the detriment to their health.”

The research also reveals that popular tactics used to de-stress at work include taking a short walk to get fresh air (43.67%), calling friends or family (32.66%) and having a rant in private (28.02%). Nipping out for a cigarette or exercising were also popular responses.

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