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Under-resourced workplaces and poor performers driving stress


Workplace stress is on the rise and the biggest drivers of stress are colleagues, new research has found. The study from Metlife UK found employees say the major causes of tension at work are ongoing understaffing with underperforming colleagues adding to the pressure.

More than half (52 percent) of employees questioned said being understaffed is creating stress at their workplace while the same number blame colleagues not doing their jobs properly. Around two out of five (40 percent) say recruiting inexperienced staff contributes to stress.

Personal financial worries are adding to the stress mix with one in three (30 percent) employees admitting they struggle to stay on top of their finances while remaining fully committed at work highlighting the need for employers to address the issue of financial wellness in the workplace.

The study found stress in the workplace is rising  – 57 percent of employees questioned say their job is more stressful than a year ago and just 22 percent say their job is not stressful. When the research was last carried out in 2014 around 31 percent said their job was not stressful and less than half (48 percent) said their job had become more stressful in the past year. 

There are grounds for optimism with signs that senior management is recognising the need to address the issue – the numbers of employees blaming pressure from their line manager for creating stress has slipped to 36 percent from 39 percent in 2014 while the numbers blaming stress on pressure to achieve performance targets has dropped to 38 percent from 45 percent.

Employers are making efforts to provide more support for staff on combating stress– around  64 percent of employees said their organisation offered some form of help in the workplace compared to 51 percent when the research was previously conducted.

Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK said: “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.

“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.

“Employees need frameworks in place to support motivation and engagement at work as well as good overall physical and mental health and wellbeing. Team leaders and managers play an important role and it is encouraging that the research shows signs of change but clearly a lot more needs to be done.

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