Advice for employers during Stress Awareness Month

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Work-related stress costs UK economy £28 billion – employers warned

Poor mental health among UK employees is costing the UK economy £28 billion each year – and accounts for around 51 per cent of long-term sick leave.

April marks Stress Awareness Month and has been held annually since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic.

A recent report (by Mental Health First Aid England) has revealed that almost half of UK workers are ‘running on empty,’ with burnout, mental ill health, and work-related stress taking its toll on the economy.

Many aspects of life can cause stress, but mental health and wellbeing in the workplace should be a focus for business leaders and employers.

Why is stress such a problem right now?

Our Managing Director, Nel Woolcott, explains: “We know that the landscape of the workplace has changed dramatically over the past few years – primarily as a result of the pandemic.

“These changes will undoubtedly have had an impact on people who may have found it difficult to adapt to different ways of working and this may have silently taken its toll.

“Every employee deserves an open, safe, and supportive workplace and as recruiters we are very fortunate to have a client base we work with that reflects this.

“We also work closely with HR leaders, their teams, and a host of other specialists who provide and share invaluable learning and knowledge.

“We believe unlocking the value of positive employee mental health is vital for a happy, healthy and productive workforce.”

According to the MHFA report:

Poor mental health accounts for more than half of all work-related illnesses. Around 51% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression, or anxiety.

Employees are reporting increased workplace intensity and more significant pressure at work:

  • 55% of workers feel that work is getting more intense and demanding.
  • 61% of workers say they feel exhausted at the end of most working days.
  • One in five UK workers reported feeling unable to manage stress and pressure in the workplace.
  • A third of managers feel out of their depth supporting their team with mental health concerns.

Nel adds: “There are some simple yet effective ways leaders can help combat stress in the workplace.”

Offer extra support

Providing wellbeing support for staff is essential for many different reasons. It allows them to explore different perspectives, have someone to talk to in confidence, and provides a safe space to discuss their mental health challenges, like stress.

Recognise the signs of stress and communicate to your staff

Recognising when one of your colleagues is struggling with stress allows you to mitigate and help that individual quickly and appropriately.

Be vigilant for signs and symptoms of stress within the workplace and among your team.

Here are some signs of stress to watch out for:

  • High staff turnover
  • Aggression
  • Reduced focus and concentration
  • Restlessness
  • Increased sickness absence

Arguments within the workplace


Having open and honest conversations with colleagues about their mental health is essential for mitigating stress and reducing the risk of burnout in your people.

Create spaces where your colleagues can comfortably have open and honest conversations with you and the leaders in your organisation, such as a wellbeing room and comfort spaces.


Alex Smith

Recruitment Specialist

I’ve worked in recruitment for the same agency for over 12 years, covering finance, office support, construction, and engineering. Temp and perm. Previously, my line of work was within banking and estate agency.
Favourite food: “Curry (Hot)”
Favourite film: “Heat”

Outside of work

“Gym 5 days a week. Home life consists mostly of entertaining a 3 year old! (for clarification – my son)”

Alex on ACR

“Very refreshing to work for a recruitment agency that genuinely care for their candidates and clients”

T: 01733 235298

Sarah-Jane Bond

Recruitment Specialist

I have spent the majority of my career working in Operational and Project Management roles. I first worked with ACR about 25 years ago as a candidate. ACR secured me a role at RNIB, where I stayed for 15 years, finishing as Head of Operations. Recruitment has always been a big part of the roles I have undertaken and is something that I really enjoy. When you match a fantastic candidate with the right client there is no better feeling!
Favourite food: “Has to be any dish from the Mediterranean”
Favourite film: “There are many, love a chick flick, especially ‘The Holiday at Christmas”

Outside of work

“I love socialising with friends, can always squeeze a bit of retail therapy in around volunteering at Deeping Rangers FC, running their hospitality on match days.”

Sarah-Jane on ACR

“I couldn’t have been more delighted when Nel asked me to join the company and have felt at home since day one. They really do care about providing the best service for their clients and candidates, building genuine relationships with both. The team culture is second to none, everyone supporting and looking out for each other. It is a pleasure to come to work every day.”

T: 01733 235298

Emily Roach

Recruitment Specialist

Emily was a Primary School Teacher for 10 years, before moving into the EdTech space, as a Relationship Specialist for MATs. She joined ACR in July 2023 and particularly thrives when recruiting for Account Management, Customer Service and Sales roles.
Favourite food:
“Spag bol or pizza”
Favourite film:
“The Notebook – or any romantic chick flick really!”
Outside of work
“I have a 1-year-old, so love fun family weekends with my fiancé and son more than anything. Time socialising with friends and family is where I’m happiest.”
Emily on ACR
“The unique culture, values, and style at ACR is polar opposite to other recruitment agencies and what I believed recruitment was. Having previously been a Relationship Specialist, I feel I’m doing the same thing! No hard sell, we truly care about our candidates and clients, and the team culture is 2nd to none!”
T: 01733 235298

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