South African workers are getting more stressed, reveals latest research by workspace provider Regus. The survey, canvassing the opinions of over 16,000 professionals across the globe, found that over half (52%) of South African worker say their stress levels have risen over the past year.
A number of national factors such as the increase in fuel price and inflation rates as well as continuing instability in the world economy are thought to have fuelled this growing pressure and respondents confirm that most stress triggers are of a professional rather than personal nature, with their finances, job and customers topping the list of causes.
The research also focused on possible solutions and found that two thirds (63%) of South African respondents identify flexible working as a way of cutting stress.
Key findings are:-
· Main causes of stress are: personal finances (62%), work (55%) and customers (48%);
· 63% of respondents say flexible working reduces stress;
- More than half (61%) of respondents think flexible working is more family- friendly;
- With 47% of respondents saying that flexible working is also cheaper than fixed location working and 77% that it improves productivity it would seem that helping staff to de-stress is also highly cost-effective;
- Globally, small business workers were more likely to be stressed by customers (42%) than large business workers (27%), but were less vexed by management (20%) than their counterparts in larger firms (40%);
Kirsten Morgendaal, Area Director of Regus comments: “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. Reports state that R3 billion a year is being lost to workplace stress in South Africa.
“Confirming previous Regus research showing that 58% of workers feel healthier directly as a result of flexible working, 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.”
“Levels of stress continue to increase across the world with workers getting closer and closer to ‘burnout’. In the short term this means losing valuable workers and dealing with lower productivity as staff battle it out with stress related health problems, insomnia and exhaustion, but the long term effects of this pressure are still difficult to predict and could be disastrous.”
 Regus, Flexibility drives productivity, February 2012