Understaffing One Of The Biggest Causes Of Workplace Stress

In Business, Individual, Industry News, Protection by Raina Dhillon

Understaffing is one of the major causes of workplace stress, a new study by a leading UK insurer has found.

According to the poll of more than 1,000 workers by MetLife UK, over half (52%) of employees said that understaffing heightened their stress levels at work, while a similar proportion said underperforming team members added to the pressure and created tension at work. Recruiting inexperienced staff was cited by 40% of employees as another reason why they feel stressed.

In addition to resource levels and issues around staff inexperience, personal financial worries also concern many employees, with 30% of survey respondents saying they struggle to stay on top of their finances, which has a knock-on effect on their work.

Time to address financial concerns

This revelation, MetLife says, emphasises the need for employers to address issues of financial wellness and financial resilience in the workplace.

It’s perhaps not surprising, then, that the survey uncovered that stress in the workplace is on the rise. This is highlighted by the fact that a similar MetLife study in 2014 found that 33% of employees said they did not find their jobs stressful. This time around, though, 57% said their job is now more stressful than it was a year ago, and only 22% said they did not find their job stressful at all.

The results of the survey, published during Stress Awareness Month, show how many different factors contribute to workplace stress and cause employees to feel pressured while doing their jobs.

Some causes of stress are decreasing

Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news. The MetLife survey also revealed that some causes of stress are actually decreasing. For example, performance targets, which were indicated by 45% of respondents in the previous MetLife research as being a cause of stress, were cited by only 38% of employees this time.

This could in part be due to the fact many employers have attempted to tackle the various causes of workplace stress since the last survey was conducted. Indeed, 64% of organisations said they offer some form of help for combating stress in the workplace vs. 51% when the research was previously conducted.

Speaking about the findings of the research, MetLife UK employee benefits director, Adrian Matthews, said: “Employees are telling us that a major cause of stress at work is other people: either there aren’t enough of them, or the ones that are there are failing to deliver, making it harder for others… Add financial wellbeing to the mix and it is clear workplace stress is a growing issue.”

Matthews added that Group Risk products such as Group Income Protection and Group Critical Illness, can play an important role when it comes to providing a financial safety net for employees and removing some of the stress that’s associated with worrying about finances in the event that an individual cannot work because of an illness or injury.

Knowing that their financial commitments are covered means there is one less thing to worry about and an employee can focus (quite rightly) on getting better in the first instance.

I have over 15 years client facing experience in the Employee Benefits industry having worked for Mercer HR Consulting and The Willis Group in London. Bringing my expertise to mid and large corporate clients, I joined Premier Choice Healthcare in December 2015, with the aim of advising and developing a varied Corporate client portfolio.