April is national stress awareness month and figures from hse.gov.uk show that 526,000 workers are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. This can really impact not just staff happiness but productivity and even staff turnover. The report suggests that the UK lost out on 12.5 million working days in 2016/17.
A further study by Freedom Finance looked to compare stress between generations and found that millennials are the most likely to suffer.
% of people who experience some level of work related stress:
Baby Boomers = 70%
Generation X = 81%
Millennials/Generation Y = 88%
That’s 18-percentage points difference.
What is causing stress in UK workplaces?
So, we know that workplace stress exists, but what exactly is causing it? One of the biggest causes is excessive workloads, long hours and overtime. Business owners and managers need to regularly monitor and evaluate individual and overall workloads within the business. If there is more work than people to complete that work, then you need to consider recruiting.
There are plenty of tools available to help with this (for example, Clarizen), from specialist software to more simple timesheets. Match your finances with workloads and work pipeline to check you have the correct resource in place for future projects.
Your business’ environment can also have an impact. A fast-paced environment with tight deadlines is not a good fit for every job candidate. Making candidates aware of expectations early on can help prepare them and in return candidates or employees can be sure to communicate clearly with their managers to make sure achievable goals are being set.
Work should always be achievable and if a member of the team is struggling with stress in the workplace, communication becomes even more important as further support may need to be given or their role adapted to relieve the issue.
Retention and turnover
Technology in the modern workplace offers help to those suffering from workplace stress and could be used by businesses to reduce turn staff turnover. Often remote or flexible working (aided by technology) can offer some relief for employees.
An increasing number of people are quitting jobs that lack these options, a survey of 5,000 professionals found that the number has doubled from 2014 to 2017 (17% to 32%). Millennials in particular want flexibility in the workplace according to a Deloitte Millennial Survey. Showing that remote working and flexibility are essential to help tackle both workplace stress and maintain a more constant workforce.