Stress at work

On 15 February 2013, senior city solicitor David Latham committed suicide by throwing himself under a tube train. According to evidence that came to light at the inquest into his death, Mr Latham was struggling to deal with stress in the run-up to a big case and had suffered a number of sleepless nights just before committing suicide.

This story came almost two years after Lloyds boss António Horta-Osório took an enforced two-month break from his role in November 2011, a mere six months after being appointed, citing extreme fatigue and stress. The BBC website’s headline ‘Lloyds’ boss flunks stress test’ received such negative publicity that the corporation’s business editor Robert Preston was forced to issue a subsequent clarification in the article that he would never trivialise stress.

More recently, one of Barclays’ most senior bankers Sir Hector Sants was reportedly forced to temporarily quit his job due to exhaustion and stress. The effect of stress at the workplace has long been considered a taboo subject and one that people have been reluctant to address. In the fast-paced world of the city where the ‘on-demand’ culture is prevalent, stress is considered to be endemic and an individual’s competence is often equated to his or her ability to deal with it…

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