Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

A third of Brits unhappy at work because of office politics

A third (33%) of UK workers cite office politics as a major contributing factor to feelings of unhappiness in the workplace, according to new research from leading recruiter Adecco

  • Adecco study finds a third of UK workers dread going into work because of office politics
  • 28% of UK workers admit to calling in sick because of anxiety

A third (33%) of UK workers cite office politics as a major contributing factor to feelings of unhappiness in the workplace, according to new research from leading recruiter Adecco.

The research revealed that such negative feeling is having a significant impact on people’s working lives with nearly a third (29%) of UK workers spending every Sunday dreading the coming working week. A third (33%) of workers described their workplace as unhappy and a worrying 28% of workers admit that they fear going into work so much that they have called in sick. An additional third (36%) would now consider leaving their employer due to such severe anxiety and more worryingly, one in ten (9%) have already taken that step due to such overwhelming feelings of unhappiness.

Up there with office politics, over half (57%) of workers name a heavy workload as the cause of stress and anxiety, whilst 33% cite a lack of managerial support. The research also revealed that even whilst away from work during the weekend or on holiday, over half (56%) of UK workers find it difficult to switch off from their day-to-day working life. When asked how they feel ahead of a new working week, over four in ten (44%) workers said they felt depressed, anxious or stressed, compared to under a quarter (23%) who feel prepared.

When asked what would make them happier about their workplace, a quarter of workers said they would like a more supportive manager, indicating that workers may want more support in navigating the politics of their team. Half (48%) of workers unsurprisingly believe that a salary increase would make them feel happier whilst a quarter claim that flexible working practices would improve their negative feelings towards the workplace.

Alex Fleming, Managing Director at Adecco, said:

“A good office dynamic is crucial for happy and productive workplaces. The prevalence of office politics as a cause of such severe stress is an indication that many organisations are struggling to manage their office culture. It is also worrying that so many workers spend their weekends and holidays full of anxiety and dread about their return to work on Monday morning because of their fellow team members.

“Overall, getting the blues is common but it is unacceptable for this to begin to affect quality of life and that co-workers feature amongst the causes of this feeling. Make sure you talk to your employer to alert them to any potential tensions in the office and discuss the things you could work on together to change about your workplace and working arrangements to ease those feelings of anxiety. Simple steps such as regular catch ups with your line manager can go a long way in improving your view of your workplace”.     

Adecco has revealed the full list of factors which UK workers believe would make their workplace a happier place to be and has called on UK employers to consider how they can put such feelings in to action:



A better salary


A more supportive manager


Flexible working arrangements


Improved benefits


Greater recognition from your colleagues


A light and airy office


A better team fit


A new job


Improved technology and gadgets


Free fruit


An improved office location