Stress levels on the rise

Dublin, 4th October, 2012 - Irish professionals are getting more stressed, according to the latest research commissioned by Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces. The research found that over half (58%) say their stress levels have risen over the past year, compared to 43% in the UK and 48% in the US. Workers pinpointed the top stress triggers as their job (67%), personal finances (55%) and customers (27%). Continuing instability in the economy, concerns over jobs and the rising cost of living are thought to have fuelled this growing pressure.

Back in April, research conducted for Regus showed that 73% of Irish workers had taken on additional duties during the economic slowdown which have not subsequently been picked up by new staff, as employers strive to do more with less.

When quizzed about possible solutions, two in three respondents (62%) identified flexible working as a way for employers to reduce staff stress, such as granting workers a degree of choice in work location as well as hours. This reflects growing recognition that multi-location working is widely beneficial, providing workers with a refreshing change of routine, the opportunity to work closer to home (and get home earlier) and the financial advantage of not having to commute every day.

Olivier de Lavalette, Regional Vice President for Ireland at Regus comments: “It is clear that Ireland’s workforce is under pressure like never before as employers strive to remain competitive in such a tough market and as people struggle to make ends meet in their personal lives. Whilst some level of pressure can be beneficial, it is highly detrimental to staff and employers alike if this results in health problems, such as insomnia and exhaustion, which are likely to throw work-life balance out of kilter and make workers less productive. HR departments and managers need to look for ways of taking excess pressure off employees. Allowing them to reduce commuting times by working more locally can help, as can granting them the freedom to work in different, more neutral environments a couple of times a week such as a business centre, where they are away from the day to day stress of the workplace and of the home.

“Without a doubt stressed-out workers are unhappy and unhealthy workers too, so businesses that want to help their staff lead more rewarding lives cannot fail to analyse and tackle levels of stress within their organisation. Yet the heavy toll of stress falls not only on workers, but also on businesses as they that find their staff is unable to perform as required, needs more sick leave and is less efficient.

“Confirming previous Regus research showing that 58% of workers feel healthier directly as a result of flexible working,[1] respondents clearly identify flexible working as one possible solution to their high stress levels. In addition to this they also report flexibility is more family friendly, helping improve their overall work-life balance and well-being. Add to this that flexible working is believed to improve productivity and to cost less than traditional office working and the case for helping employees to de-stress by increasing flexibility becomes substantial.”

- Ends –

[1] Regus, Flexibility drives productivity, February 2012