By Daniel Hunter
UK professionals are getting more stressed, according to the latest research commissioned by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces which canvassed the opinions of 2500 professionals across the country.
The research found that two-fifths (43%) say their stress levels have risen over the past year, and workers pinpointed the top stress triggers as their job (55%), personal finances (48%), customers (32%) and management (26%). Continuing instability in the economy, concerns over jobs and the rising cost of living are thought to have fuelled this growing pressure.
Back in April, research conducted for Regus showed that 65% of professionals had taken on additional duties during the economic slowdown which have not subsequently been picked up by new staff, as employers strive to do more with less.
When quizzed about possible solutions, two in three respondents (63%) 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.
“Levels of stress continue to increase across the country. Whilst some level of stress can sometimes be seen as beneficial, if employees suffer stress-related health problems, such as insomnia and exhaustion, they are likely to be less productive and eventually employers may find that they lose valuable workers," Dr Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at the Cranfield School of Management said.
"Employers need to look for ways of taking excess pressure off employees. Allowing employees to reduce commuting times by working more locally can help, as can granting employees the freedom to sometimes work in different, more neutral environments such as a business centre, where they are away from the day to day stress of the workplace and of the home.”
Steve Purdy, UK Managing Director at Regus comments: “Without a doubt, stressed-out workers are unhappy and unhealthy workers too, so local 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.
“Confirming previous Regus research showing that 58% of workers feel healthier directly as a result of flexible working, respondents clearly identify flexible working as one possible solution to their high stress levels. In addition to this they also report flexibility is more family friendly, helping improve their overall work-life balance and wellbeing. Add to this that flexible working is believed to improve productivity and to cost less than traditional office working and the case for helping employees to de-stress by increasing flexibility becomes substantial.”
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