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 Healthcare workers among the UK’s worst for relieving work-stress

More than one in two time-poor healthcare workers are not doing anything to relieve stress outside of work - ironically often due to not having the time - according to new research. 


A survey of 1,015 UK adults in employment carried out by learning marketplace,, revealed that healthcare workers are amongst the worst in the UK at actually taking the time to relieve their stress, with 53% admitting they do “little or nothing” to manage their stress levels.


Healthcare workers were only topped by those in professional services such as law and accountancy and education - with 58% and 55% of staff in these sectors respectively doing nothing to relieve stress.


For the overwhelming majority of healthcare workers who claimed this was the case, it is a lack of free time that is the biggest obstacle (74%).


UK in general

With the average Brit working a 40.2-hour week - and not including time spent thinking about work - not having the time to decompress from the daily grind could be damaging the nation’s workforce.


For more than one in three in this industry, money is the reason post-work stress relieving activities are not pursued. As many as 48% of the UK workforce is guilty of not taking steps to manage their stress levels.


Of those who do regularly take measures to reduce work-based stress, it’s exercise and sport that top the poll of most popular stress-busting activities. 44% find relief from a physical outlet, while enjoying personal interests and hobbies came a close second (39%). 


Meanwhile, 35% say they turn to spending time with friends and family to relax them.


Threat to healthcare

Tom Batting, co-founder of says: “It’s extremely worrying how many workers within the healthcare industry claim they do not prioritise getting the stress relief that is so important for maintaining their own mental health. Many healthcare workers will be amongst the most informed about the potential impact this can have on their own health - but clearly time and money is preventing them from using this knowledge to protect themselves. The irony is that this can actually become a vicious cycle - if we don’t make time for stress relief, this can lead to becoming more stressed or even burnout, both of which can reduce productivity further. 


“It’s in healthcare managers’ and bosses’ interests to ensure that employees actually do take measures to manage their stress levels - whether that’s communicating how important this, allowing them flexi-time so that they can attend whatever activity it is that they do to relieve stress, or even providing classes or workshops for the workforce. 


Batting continues: “As well as reducing stress, this can positively impact on an employee’s focus, concentration and efficiency in the workplace - which are obviously especially key within the healthcare industry. We see this time and again - employers who provide workers with healthy and stress-busting ‘perks’ like yoga, meditation or even arts and craft workshops reap the rewards in a more productive - and satisfied - workforce.”


Resilience was the theme of the HEFMA Leadership Forum in May this year, including personal resilience. National Chair, Jonathan Stewart, emphasised the importance of dealing with stress, being aware of colleagues who may be under stress and looking after staff for whom you may be responsible. He said: “More than ever individuals are exposed to the constant risks of relentless and excessive work pressures. I’m sure many of you in the room will have witnessed colleagues and friends who exhibit these signs of stress or who sadly become ill as a result. This is unfortunately not uncommon these days. We need to look after ourselves and each other.”