Stressed staff should be supportedOne business expert has claimed employers have a duty to protect their staff from a range of illnesses brought on by stress.

Alexandra Shoobert, an advisor at free support service Business Link, said employers have a "legal obligation" to ensure people do not become unwell as a result of pressure in the workplace.

She said: "A stress audit as part of the overall health and safety policy will help to identify any issues you need to address.

"And remember to recognise your own stress levels too."

Her comments come as a study from Norwich Union Healthcare found half of people admit to being stressed out, while 20 per cent of workers are suffering from depression.

Despite this, the research revealed the economic pressure on the businesses means people are trying even harder – with 55 per cent going into work when they lumbered with an ailment.

Almost half (48 per cent) said they are not taking lunch breaks, while 33 per cent have taken on greater responsibility.