Mid-sized businesses are feeling the effects of an unstable economy: stress levels among employees are rising, resulting in a less productive workforce.
Business life is not getting any easier: almost half of professionals in mid-sized businesses say their stress levels have risen over the past year, according to new research by Regus. Behind this is, unsurprisingly, the continuing instability in the UK economy taking its toll.
Respondents pinpointed their top stress triggers as concerns over the stability of their jobs, personal finances and management issues. The rising cost of living has fuelled the growing pressure.
These are numbers that can be led back to similar research conducted in April this year, again by Regus, which showed that some 68 per cent of professionals in the mid-market had taken on additional duties during the economic slowdown, which have not subsequently been picked up by new staff, as business leaders strive to do more with less (wo)manpower.
Stress levels have continued to increase across the UK, and related health problems, such as insomnia and exhaustion, have taken their toll on businesses struggling with a less productive workforce.
The mid-market is even more stressed than small businesses, less of whom are reporting an increase in stress levels.
Steve Purdy, UK managing director at Regus and a contributor at Real Business, commented, “Without a doubt, stressed-out workers are unhappy and unhealthy workers too, so businesses that want to help their staff lead more rewarding lives cannot fail to analyse and tackle levels of stress within their organisation. The heavy toll of stress falls not only on workers, but also on businesses as they that find their staff are unable to perform as required, need more sick leave and are less efficient.
“In the UK the CIPD identified stress as the main cause of absence from work and reports that nearly two fifths of employers feel stress as a cause of absence is increasing.”
When quizzed about possible solutions, 65% of respondents identified flexible working as a way for employers to reduce staff stress, such as granting workers a degree of choice in work location as well as hours. This reflects growing recognition that multi-location working is widely beneficial, providing workers with a refreshing change of routine, the opportunity to work closer to home (and get home earlier) and also the financial advantage of not having to commute every day.
When quizzed about possible solutions to the problem, some 65 per cent of respondents identified flexible working as a way to reduce stress. Employers were asked to grant their team a degree of choice in work location, as well as hours, to give them a refreshing change of routine, the opportunity to work closer to home (and get home earlier) and also the financial advantage of not having to commute every day.
That certainly won't give the UK a more stable economy, but might make employees a bit more happy.