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Stress a major drain on productivity

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New NOP World research, commissioned by Investors in People to mark their tenth anniversary, has found that stress is a very significant factor in hampering business success.

More than one in five employees see stress as the greatest negative factor affecting their productivity. However, only half as many bosses agreed. And relatively few employees saw extra pay as a major motivator.

Carole Spiers, Chair of the International Stress Management AssociationUK commented: “Employers need to wake up and recognise that a stressful working environment can wreak havoc on the output of a business. Inevitably, it will increase staff turnover resulting in recruitment problems, and will increase absence due to sickness. Many of us spend a third of our lives at work. Being stressed for much of this time can only damage our quality of life as a whole. Workplace stress is becoming a commonplace problem, but some employers obviously don’t understand its adverse effects on their bottom line.”

It has been reported that stress at work affects almost two thirds of the working population, and that stress litigation is on the increase. At last year’s National Stress Awareness Day it was revealed that stress has overtaken the common cold as the biggest cause of staff absence. Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of Investors in People UK, said: “It is time that employers started listening to their staff and watching out for the tell tale signs of stress. Stress is often a reflection of a company’s failure to support its staff rather than an indication of an individual’s weakness. It should be taken very seriously indeed. There are a number of ways in which stress problems can be resolved, such as ensuring the provision of adequate training, feedback and support.”

The research also revealed that the sector by far the most affected by stress is the IT industry, and that executive and junior management roles prove the most stressful. Small businesses were also particularly concerned by stress in the workplace, with 15% of small business employers citing it as the most significant barrier to the productivity of their company.

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