Stress in the workplace is reaching epidemic levels, according to three separate surveys released last week.
Reports by the Institute of Personnel and Development, Office World office suppliers and the white collar union MSF blame stress on increased work pressures depriving staff of sufficient time off.
The IPD survey found that managers’ workloads “have increased significantly in the last 12 months” for three-quarters of its 407 respondents.
The MSF survey backed this up, claiming that 69 per cent of staff now suffer from more stress than a year ago. The survey covered UK workplaces employing a total of 140 000 people.
Mark Rollinson, a director of the Design Business Association and of design consultancy Giant, blames stress on inefficient time and project management.
“It’s about anticipating peaks and troughs of work and not just slogging on like a zombie,” Rollinson adds. “Half the people who work late in small businesses are just farting around.”
As a consequence of increased workloads, owners of firms with up to nine staff are the least likely to take a holiday, according to the Office World Quarterly Small Business Survey.
Office World claims that the average holiday among small business employees is 14 days, compared to 23 days for the adult population as a whole.
“Owners of small businesses are less able to leave, feeling the business won’t run without them. They are also often less well off,” says an Office World spokesman.
“There is never a right time to take a holiday, but nobody is indispensable and everybody can be covered for,” says Rollinson.