Employers can help to reduce stress among their workforce by adopting a flexible staffing approach, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has claimed.

The organisation was responding to a recent report by the Trades Union Congress, which pointed to excessive workloads as a major driver of workplace stress.

REC acknowledged that increased workloads – which are often a consequence of growing competition in business – do present a problem.

However, Tom Hadley, director of external relations, said they can be dealt with thorough the use of temporary staff to deal with peaks in business activity.

"The key for employers is to manage this in terms of stress and to use flexible staffing as a means of limiting excessive workloads on existing workers," he remarked.

Meanwhile, the second reading of the European Union Agency Workers Directive is due to take place this month. The legislation proposes that temporary workers should be given the same rights as permanent staff after 12 weeks in employment.