Pressured workers ‘heading for burn-out’

Long hours and pressure brought on by the economic downturn mean one in three employees faces excessive pressure at work, according to a survey by consultancy Towers Watson.

Its Global Workforce Study, which surveyed 32,000 employees worldwide, found that more than one in three (34%) are often affected by excessive pressure in their job. More than half (58%) said they have worked more hours than normal over the past three years, with exactly half saying they expect this to continue for the next three years. Further, only just over half (53%) feel that these stress levels are manageable.

Only one-third of workers, according to the survey, felt they receive adequate support from senior leaders to manage the pressure in terms of health and wellbeing policies. Presenteeism is also an issue, with a quarter (26%) unable to take enough holiday or personal time off over the last three years.

One respondent in five also felt that cuts to the workforce had left them with an unreasonable amount of work, while 30% believed that their organisation was under-resourced.

Stress levels are clearly having a negative impact on engagement, as 26% of workers said they feel “stuck” in their role, while 40% said they would have to leave their organisation in order to advance to a more senior role.

Charles Fair, senior engagement and wellbeing consultant at Towers Watson, said: “This research raises huge concerns over our country’s health and wellbeing at work. Several years of economic uncertainty have led to increased anxiety around job security with workers putting in longer hours than ever, raising concerns of ‘burn-out’ among British workers. Businesses should act now to avoid a ‘work until you drop’ culture turning into the norm with workers becoming increasingly unproductive, something our economy can ill-afford at the moment.

“If employees are overworked and stressed then their levels of engagement, morale and wellbeing are correspondingly low and this can have a real impact on the bottom line for many organisations. Understanding employees’ needs and putting in place a thorough health and well-being strategy can pay dividends for organisations of all sizes.”

Towers Watson’s research was conducted across a range of industries in 29 markets around the world, and results for the UK were broadly in line with those seen across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

For more information on helping employees with stress, visit XpertHR.

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