Group of happy women

Be stress-aware & get the best from your people

1 November 2023

It’s National Stress Awareness Day, and we’re joining the campaign to raise awareness of stress in the workplace and remove the stigma. During this blog, we’ll explore the causes of workplace stress, generational and gender differences, and how you can reduce employee stress to create a happier and healthier workforce.

Stress… more than a personal matter


Work-related stress, anxiety, or depression accounted for 55% of all working days lost due to ill health in 2021 (HSE), and poor mental health is estimated to cost UK employers £56 billion per year (Deloitte).


Workplace stress is costing your business through increased absenteeism and loss of productivity, and in the stat above, we can offer 56 billion reasons to become stress-aware in your business.


Every £1 spent on improving your employees’ mental wellbeing will yield a £5 return due to reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (Deloitte).


Workplaces stress… the usual suspects


Some common factors that cause stress in the workplace include:


  • Poor management

  • Conflicts

  • Excessive workload…


The list could become exhaustive, and it’s essential to remember that we can’t always avoid stress at work, and it doesn’t always impact employees negatively.


Stress can be a driver, pushing employees to meet targets.


Communication is vital, as is creating an environment where your employees are confident to make their managers aware when stress becomes too frequent and too much.


Recognising the risks


Prolonged periods of excess stress can lead to employee burnout. Download our free guide on recognising and reducing the risks to keep your people healthy.


Pluxee Burnout Guide


When burnout strikes your people, it’s felt across your entire business.


Prevention is better than cure. There are five stages to reaching burnout, but once there, as Dr Keith Grimes explains from his personal experience, the journey back to health doesn’t come with a time limit.


Protecting those most vulnerable


There are laws to follow on stress in the workplace, and the HSE also provides risk assessment documentation for your business to adopt.


Still, statistics show which gender, age group and profession are most at risk of workplace stress and burnout.


Women Leaders


The gender stress divide isn’t limited to women in leadership, with 43% of women reporting feeling burnt out, compared to 31% of men (McKinsey). Still, as women progress through life and ‘climb the ladder,’ the risk of burnout increases.


There are multiple reasons cited, including perimenopause and menopause, but also home life.


54% of senior-level female leaders felt exhausted compared to 41% of men (The Glass Hammer).


We discuss the impact menopause has on working women in our blog – Menopause… empower women to stay in the jobs they love – but to reiterate, 8/10 menopausal women are in work.


43.8 is the median age of general and operations managers, and the average age of female workers is 42.1 (Team Stage). Menopause generally starts from age 44 onwards, with perimenopause starting even earlier, so many women reach a position of leadership at an age when they may also experience hormonal changes.


This increases the risk of excess stress.


A generational divide…


Those aged between 35 and 44 are the most stressed age group, and 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds report that their high stress levels are down to the pressure they feel to succeed.


Impacted industries…


Unsurprisingly, the healthcare sector is the most stressful industry, with 80% of doctors reporting feeling stressed or burnt out (MQ Mental Health Research). The pandemic left its mark on the NHS, and it’s yet to recover.


Education, hospitality, and those in the legal profession are close behind, each reporting considerably high rates of employee stress.


Positive steps to reducing stress


You can’t alleviate all sources of stress in the workplace and your employees’ personal lives. However, you can make life at work and home more joyful for them.


Culture & Flexibility


Women shouldn’t feel unable to share when they take time off work due to menstrual challenges and changes, and 46% of UK employees shouldn’t fear facing discrimination in their workplace due to mental health issues.


Remove the stigma by normalising conversations around employee mental health and ensure you train your managers effectively to minimise the risk of excess stress. Flexible working policies also reduce stress, helping employees manage home demands.


Enhancing mental health


Tackling excess stress is crucial, but it’s also important to remember that your employees will all react to stress differently. Be proactive. Empower your people to recognise the signs of mental ill health and give them a safe place to turn when they need support. 


Our Employee Assistance Programme includes resources for managers to support their people and advice on financial matters, like un­expected bills and debt, legal advice, relationships, and parenting.


Most importantly, it includes 24/7 access to BACP-accredited counsellors and a dedicated menopause support service.


Reward and recognition


Lack of appreciation can increase employee stress, especially when they go above and beyond to achieve results. A thank you costs nothing but holds a lot of power – reward power.


Employee rewards boost morale and can improve employees’ finances – all of which reduce stress levels.


Stretch salaries with our Pluxee Card. Once it’s in your employees’ hands, you can top it up whenever you want to recognise and reward them. The fact that your employees can earn up to 15% cashback when they use it with over 80 participating retailers is a bonus.


Surprise and delight with our eVoucher Solutions! 


Brilliant for ad hoc rewards, birthdays, and Christmas, our eVouchers are an inclusive employee reward, giving access to the widest choice of retailers. Whether your employees use them to help towards the cost of the weekly shop or a treat for the family, our eVouchers ensure your employees feel recognised and appreciated.


Beat stress in your business with Pluxee UK


We’re committed to breaking down the barriers that prevent your employees from being as well as they can be – physically, mentally, and financially.


Will you join us?


With over 60 years of experience in the employee engagement industry, we’re the trusted partner that can open up a world of opportunities for your people and business. Arrange a call to discover more.







HSE Risk Assessment


The Glass Hammer

Team Stage

MQ Mental Health