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U.K. Workers More Stressed Than Ever

Gallup’s annual report finds that full-time workers in the nation are some of the most emotionally distressed in Europe.

By Maggie Mancini

Gallup, the global research consultancy, has released its 2023 Gallup Global Emotions report – a study on U.K. employee sentiment. According to the report’s “Negative Experience Index,” which tracks how many people experience daily sadness, anger, stress, worry, and physical pain, full-time U.K. employees are experiencing high levels of negative experiences each day. 

This latest Gallup data notes that U.K. employees scored a 32 on Gallup’s “Negative Experience Index.” This is up from 23 in 2020. Full-time employees in the U.K. are now some of the most emotionally distressed in Europe, second only to Malta (39).  

U.K. employees have contended with massive workplace disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis sparked by energy prices related to the war in Ukraine, and years of political upheaval due to Brexit and frequent prime ministerial turnover. The perceived standard of living trend, which had been on the rise since 2018, has reversed. The result is that U.K. workers are more pessimistic about living standards than at any point since 2009.  

Nearly all U.K. workers are not enthused by their work and workplace. According to Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace report, the U.K. rate of engagement at work (10%) remains one of the lowest in Europe, ranking near the bottom among peer countries (33 out of 38) with countries like the U.S. reporting triple the number of engaged employees (31%). The poor state of disengaged workforces is not unique to the U.K., with just 13% of employees across Europe feeling engaged at work, and the lowest rates of engagement were reported in France (7%) and Italy (5%).  

“With employee engagement and worker well-being at an all-time low, companies need to act fast to address their emotional economy, where employees’ emotions strongly influence productivity, performance, sustainability, and growth,” says Jeremie Brecheisen, partner and managing director of the Gallup CHRO Roundtable. “While leaders can’t change the external economic or political climate, they can create workplaces where people feel engaged, supported, and that they are able to thrive.”  

Tags: EMEA News, EMEA Newsletter December 2023

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