Corporate work-life balance programmes are the most effective method for reducing employee stress, according to new research.
A workplace health initiative called Britain’s Healthiest Company has conducted research into the steps that businesses take to manage staff stress. The results indicate that whilst many firms acknowledge the importance of reducing employee stress levels, they could be more effective in facilitating this.
Just under three quarters of respondents (73%) stated that they are suffering from at least one symptom of work-related stress. Time pressure is the most common stressor, followed by a lack of information about changes in the business. 60% of respondents stated that their job made organising their life outside of work difficult whilst a third said that they work in excess of 40 hours per week. Both of these factors contribute to a poor work-life balance.
The survey found that corporate work-life balance programmes were the most effective way to reduce stress, with 71% of employees that had used such a programme stating that it was of benefit. However while over 70% of the companies surveyed offer at least one stress-reducing initiative, only 34% offer separate work-life balance programmes.
Despite this, the research found that UK employers are aware of the importance of work-life balance. 50% of employees stated that they are able to work flexible hours and more than 50% said that they were able to work from home. Other work-life balance initiatives that employees reported include enhanced shared parental leave, paid study time, paid exam leave and long-service annual leave awards.
Meanwhile a separate study by Sage One revealed what employees in small businesses in the UK think would really improve their workplace. Music came at the top of the list, with 44% of employees saying that being able to listen to their own tunes in the office would improve their work environment. This was followed closely by being able to work flexible hours (41%), and by being able to be more sociable (40%).