Workplace stress linked to lower productivity


Employees who suffer from high stress levels in the workplace are less engaged, not as productive and have higher absence rates than those operating under lower stress, according to research by consultancy Towers Watson.

Its Global benefits attitudes survey, which surveyed 22,347 people across 12 countries, found that only 10% of staff with low stress levels are disengaged,while 57% of those with high stress levels felt a disconnect with their employer.

The research also found that those feeling highly stressed took an average of 4.6 days a year off sick, compared with 2.6days a year for employees reporting low stress levels. 

Presenteeism was also 50% higher among highly stressed staff, with these individuals attending work for 16 days a year when unwell, compared with 10 days for employees claiming to have low stress.

Rebekah Haymes (pictured), senior consultant and wellbeing specialist at Towers Watson, said: “The research clearly shows the destructive link between high levels of stress and reduced productivity.

”A third of respondents said they are often bothered by excessive pressure in their job and this can lead to higher instances of disengagement and absenteeism, clear indicators of low productivity in the workplace.

“If business leaders want to promote a lower stress environment in their [organisation], then it’s vital that they understand the real causes of stress. There can be specific areas that are not immediately visible to management and without a good communication structure, even the most well-meaning management team can find itself focusing energy and resources on the wrong areas.”