Understaffing increases work-related stress, survey finds

52% of workers say understaffing makes them feel stressed

Colleagues, especially a lack of them or if they’re not pulling their weight, are the biggest causes of work-related stress, research has suggested.

More than half (52%) of employees stated that understaffing heightened their stress levels at work, a poll of more than 1,000 workers by insurer MetLife UK has found.

Underperforming team members also added to the pressure, as 40% of staff thought recruiting inexperienced staff contributed to them feeling stressed.

Concern about colleagues and staffing was closely followed by personal financial worries, as 30% of employees claimed they struggled to stay on top of their finances while remaining fully committed to their work.

The results of the survey, published during Stress Awareness Month, showed these factors had an impact on how employees viewed their job. Fifty-seven per cent said their role was more stressful than it was a year ago. Only 22% said their job was not stressful.

It is not the first survey that has identified the impact colleagues can have on mental health. Research published last month revealed that 44% of office workers claimed working in noisy environments had a negative effect on their wellbeing. More than half said they were interrupted by noisy distractions more than five times a day.

“Employees are telling us that a major cause of stress at work is unfortunately the people they work with. Either there aren’t enough of them, or the ones that are there are failing to deliver and making it harder for others,” explained Adrian Matthews, employee benefits director at MetLifeUK.

“Add financial wellbeing to the mix and it is clear workplace stress is a growing issue. It’s an issue that employers need to address and the numbers suffering from it demonstrate that taking action will produce measurable results relatively quickly and without major investment.”

Matthews said employers needed to put frameworks in place to support motivation and engagement at work, as well as good physical and mental health and wellbeing. Team leaders and managers could play an important role in this, he explained.


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