The study revealed the extent of the stress overload that has led to an estimated 1,554,256 working days being lost every year. And it is getting worse, with more than half of UK organisations reporting an increase in cases of stress.
Eighty three per cent of human resources professionals said stress was holding back the UK's efforts to improve productivity and 60% believed it was adding to staff retention problems.
The survey, Stress in the UK Workplace, was based on responses from 700 senior HR practitioners. Its findings suggested that stress-related illness accounts for 11% of sick leave.
Many respondents said stress was caused by bad management, which leads to unreasonable demands; lack of support and training; poor relationships at work; and poorly defined roles.
A separate survey of employees, based on questions developed by Personnel Today, found that 35% of staff felt unsupported by managers.
The BMRB National Employee Benchmarks Survey questioned 2,000 employees. It found that more than 50% felt pressured to work long hours; 42% worried about their job outside working hours; 40% felt they could not report concerns about pressure; and 19% dreaded going to work.
Twenty five per cent of respondents said worrying about work affected their sleep and 33% felt overwhelmed by their workload.