Fears of recession are leading to soaring levels of stress among
staffers at Britain's agencies - and the pressures are manifesting
themselves in everything from troublesome skin conditions to heavy
drinking and drug-taking, according to new research.
The survey, of 170 agency and TV production company executives, also
found that eight out ten of those questioned experienced bullying by
Now agencies are being warned that unless they spot the early warning
signs of stress among staff and deal with them, they will be forced to
face the economic downturn with massively demotivated workforces.
The research was carried out by Deirdre Edwards, a psychotherapist and
stress counsellor for 15 years, and follows what she said had been a big
increase in the numbers of media company staffers seeking her
Her findings come as the IPA Council is about to consider a proposal for
a code of practice on how agencies should address the work-life balance
issue, which may include dealing with stress.
IPA executives fear the industry will fail to recruit and retain the
brightest talent unless the working environment is made more
Bruce Haines, the IPA president, said: "As an industry, we have a poor
reputation in this area and I'm committed to doing something about
Edwards' research suggests that increasing stress among agency people is
causing more eczema and asthma among sufferers. More are turning to
cigarettes, drink and drugs. She claims recession causes agency staff to
take on more work because they fear redundancy.
She accused many senior agency managers, themselves under pressure from
their bosses, of exacerbating the problem by belittling staff in
meetings in front of their colleagues. "In trying to motivate people,
they humiliate them," Edwards added. "This is bringing about a spiral of