Mobile technology to blame for workplace stress

Mobile technology is to blame for workplace stress as people find it difficult to switch off, new research has revealed.

Mobile technology is to blame for workplace stress as people find it difficult to switch off, new research has revealed.

Interim management provider Russam GMS, ​surveyed the attitudes of senior executives towards fitness, health and leadership, with three quarters blaming mobile technology for creating a more stressful environment.

Russam questioned its database of senior executives and 60 per cent of respondents said their employers expect them to answer emails outside of work hours, while a fifth of respondents said that “switching off from work at home” is their biggest challenge in terms of looking after their health.

Ian Joseph, Managing Director, Russam GMS said: “Stress is one of the leading causes of health problems and absence in the workplace so it’s surprising that organisations are doing so little to recognise it or offer help to deal with it.

“Senior executives today are expected not only to have business skills, drive and ambition, they also need to be fit and resilient in order to cope with today’s demanding economic environment. Companies that are failing to support and encourage their staff to be healthier and tackle stress are storing up problems for the future.”

Other contributors of stress included more demanding financial targets, the pressure to be on call 24/7 and email which ‘makes things relentless.’

The Health and Safety Executive report that long-term sick leave costs UK businesses around £3.1bn each year due to people who are unable to work due to long-term illness or injury. This estimate increases to £6.5bn if the public sector is included. It also states that 11.3 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety in 2013/14, an average of 23 days per case. 

So what could be done to manage well-being and stress?  

More than 80 per cent of senior executives said their company has no procedures in place to recognise stress as well as promoting healthy living. Almost a quarter said they would prefer more health and well-being benefits to a pay rise, such as mindfulness sessions, fitness classes at work, meditation and yoga. The research also revealed that many employers were failing to encourage staff to take regular breaks away from their desks. 

However, a study by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health  published in March states employers in the U.S. will spend an average of $693 per person on new wellness incentives in 2015, up from $430 five years ago, to help staff stay healthy.

Companies like Euromoney offer Workday, walking and eating challenges, stress management programmes, and a range of in-office workouts, including “no sweat” workouts to high-intensity boot camps. 

Joseph added: “Putting benefits in place to help employees be healthier and less stressed is crucial. These don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Initiatives such as having fruit in meetings, encouraging people to take regular breaks from their desk and allowing them time to visit the gym can contribute to people’s good health and support their well-being.

“If organisations are going to be fit for the future, leaders need to recognise the issue of stress and do something about it. Setting expectations about the use of mobiles and unplugging from emails during holidays is something senior executives should be doing as matter of course and leading by example.” 



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