Bigger the employer, bigger the stress

  • 31/08/2015
Bigger the employer, bigger the stress

Bigger is not always better, according to survey results confirming that larger businesses are the most stressful places to work.

A workplace wellness poll by insurer Southern Cross and enterprise advocate BusinessNZ has found that stress levels are more likely to be rising among employees of organisations with more than 50 staff.

The report, compiled from data collected from 113 workplaces that employ 116,000 people, showed that overall, 29 percent of businesses reported an increase in stress levels.

About 57 percent saw no change in stress levels while 14 percent reported a drop.

However, 36 percent of employees at larger businesses said their stress levels had increased, compared with 23 percent for those at smaller workplaces.

Employees gave several reason for increased stress, including general workload, relationship issues, long hours, pressure to meet targets and financial concerns.

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the findings should act as a wake-up call for businesses without wellness plans in place.

"This survey has shown that the stress in the workplace is a critical issue to address," he said.

"Businesses need to try and mitigate this to get the most out of their workforce and give their workers the best environment possible to be productive."

Southern Cross chief executive Peter Tynan encouraged businesses to try to foster a culture that promotes a positive work life balance.

"High levels of stress tend to lead to health issues in the long run," he said.

"It takes time and effort to train and develop staff, so looking after them and providing a healthy workplace is just good business practice."

Options proven to help manage stress include flexible hours, employee assistance programmes, health checks, devices that allow staff to work from home and financial literacy seminars, Mr Tynan said.