63% of professionals suffer from workplace-related stress.
Three in five employees have stated that their mental health has declined this year due to work-related stress.
Despite South African employers spending millions on wellness initiatives every year – increasing their spend by (20%) since the pandemic, (55%) of professionals still believe that their employer is not doing enough to combat stress in the workplace.
Professionals at risk
According to a recent poll of 2,000 conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters, (63%) of professionals stated they have suffered from some form of workplace-related stress.
When asked how often they feel this way, (41%) stated very often, with a further (22%) stating ‘somewhat often’, and 28% identified it as happening “sometimes”. Only (9%) stated that they had not experienced any form of ‘reoccurring stress’ in the workplace this year. *Stress-symptoms are said to be experienced more than 3 times for 7+ consecutive days at a time.
When asked about what causes workplace stress, concerns over workload and the type of work were the most common triggers (35%). Followed by heightened pressure from management (24%), company culture and job culture (23%) as well as colleague competitiveness (18%).
Whose responsibility, is it?
When asked whose responsibility it is to manage workplace stress;(42%) of professionals said it is down to HR and senior leaders, followed by line managers (32%), with only a fraction (21%) believing that it is down to the individual and (4%) said colleagues should be responsible for managing workplace stress.
However, less than 13% of professionals feel that employers are doing enough, and a further 31% feel ‘some’ efforts have been made, however they are lacking – whilst the majority, a staggering (56%) state that employers simply aren’t doing enough.
Samantha-Jane Gravett, Director of Robert Walters Africa: “Irrespective of companies spending 20% more on employee wellness initiatives & benefits every year, depending on the size of the business – our survey indicates they may only be applying a band-aid.”
“Employers must find the balance between not breaking the bank or piling pressure onto managers to solve workplace stress, and rather be more proactive and listening to the needs of their employees i.e., conducting internal and anonymous surveys with employees will ascertain greater insights into where a business may need to focus on as this is not as simple as a one size fits all.”
Causes and effects
Long work hours, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, unclear job expectations, job insecurity, and conflicts with colleagues or supervisors are all factors which contribute towards workplace stress.
If not addressed, workplace stress can snowball into higher turnover rates, levels of employee burnout, absenteeism, and lower productivity levels.
In fact, almost a quarter of professionals (21%) stated that their work was of low quality, and they focussed on high output instead due to unrealistic workloads.
Samantha comments: “Workplace stress is something everyone in a business has a hand in creating – however it is down to senior leaders & HR to set the tone for how it is managed to avoid employee burnout.
“Simple interventions such as making sure workloads are manageable, setting realistic deadlines and making sure employees have access to support, safe spaces and relevant resources like; mental health programmes – can all help to alleviate pressure in the workplace as well as professionals’ day-to-day work life.”
For further information, or a full copy of the research paper please contact Phumzile.Zondo@robertwalters.com or +27 (0)11 881 2433
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