February 2, 2016
Excessive stress threatens the wellbeing of employees across the UK and the rest of Europe, with 88 percent of British workers regularly experiencing stress at work, according to research by payroll software firm ADP. Nearly half (43 percent) of UK employees go further to say that stress is a constant factor in their roles and that they feel stressed ‘often’ or ‘very often’. In fact, just 12 percent of employees feel that they never experience workplace stress while 79 percent of UK workers feel that their employer is trying to help them manage stress levels. The report, The Workforce View in Europe 2015/16, surveyed 11,257 working adults across Europe, including 1,500 employees in the UK. It found that many employees now believe flexible working will help them deal with stress and achieve a better work life balance while over three-quarters (79 percent) of UK respondents feel their employer is trying to help them manage stress.
Annabel Jones, HR Director at ADP UK, commented: “Some level of stress is part of most jobs and, at its best, can make work more dynamic. However, excessive and frequent stress is one of the biggest threats to a modern workforce, affecting staff morale, productivity and efficiency. Businesses should therefore be alert of how their workforce is feeling and ensure their well-being is maintained.”
This stress awareness could be explained by the drive for holistic wellbeing, according to the report’s authors. Mindfulness and ‘work with purpose’ have made their way up the corporate agenda, emerging as key tools supporting employee engagement. Around a third of employees in the UK perceive a good work-life balance as the top motivating factor at work. This is followed by the ability to work when and where they want (29 percent) and employee benefits that look after long term financial welfare (24 percent).
With this in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that employees are eager to move away from the traditional ‘9-5’ working pattern. 36 percent would like a mixture of flexible and fixed hours, but another 37 percent would like to adopt a totally flexible working pattern.
Leon Vergnes, Senior Vice President EMEA, at ADP, commented: “Over the past few years, we have seen employee attitudes toward work-life balance and the quality of life shift dramatically. We believe this is more than just a passing trend, and employee desires are really affecting how companies operate. The appetite for flexible working opportunities is on the rise, and we also expect to see an increasing demand for employee benefits that support health and wellbeing. Employers must ensure that they can respond to these demands and have the support and technology in place to make the change possible.”