Stress is par for the course in workplaces around Australia – and experts agree that some degree of stress can actually aid productivity.
However, when stress is excessive to the point of causing sleepless nights, it becomes a workplace issue.
New research by Regus found that far from abating, Australian workers are increasingly feeling the pressure of stress at work. What’s more, some 54 per cent report that they are experiencing more stress-related illness.
Stress-related illness can worsen or cause a whole series of health conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems and asthma.
While similar research conducted by Regus in 2012 found that 38 per cent of respondents in Australia felt their stress levels had risen in the past year, the latest study found that in Australia two-fifths (42 per cent) of workers are now actually losing sleep worrying about work.
CEO of Regus Australia and NZ Paul Migliorini, said commented on the findings, and said stress is clearly on the rise for Australian workers.
“Work-related worries and the sleepless nights that follow can hugely affect our personal lives. With stress a known catalyst for health issues, businesses, especially large companies, need to be proactive and address stress related issues in the workforce,” Migliorini said.
Notably, the research also shows that people working in larger firms are more stressed than small businesses. Some 61% of workers in companies with more than 250 employees reported high levels of stress-related illness, compared to 54 per cent of small business workers with less than 40 staff.
Further to this, 54 per cent of large firms are seeing more stress-related absenteeism compared to 48 per cent of small companies.
The survey, which canvassed the opinions of more than 20,000 workers across 95 countries, also found that stress is causing an increase in absenteeism (49 per cent) that is damaging business productivity.
It indicated that employers looking to change this trend should look at flexible working options for workers as means help ease work-related stress.
Other key Australian findings included:
- 36 per cent of respondents are worried about losing their job;
- 48 per cent feel less confident about the sector they work in;
- 42 per cent report that their family and friends have noticed they are stressed by work;
- 43 per cent say that stress is damaging their co-worker’s personal relationships;
- 71 per cent say flexible working helps to ease work related stress.