Full-on pursuit of commercial success may be putting business owners and employees of SMEs at increased risk of ill health and burnout, says new research from AXA PPP Healthcare.
Described as a type of stress, office burnout can manifest itself as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.
For Britain’s SMEs (which make up 99.9% of the UK’s private sector businesses, and employ nearly three-fifths of its workforce and account for 48% of the turnover), the research reveals statistics that are hard to ignore:
- 47% of employees in SMEs across the UK said they regularly work 4 or more hours of overtime per week
- 29% of these put in 7 or more hours
- For half (52%), the extra hours are unpaid
- Over half (54%) of employees have continued to work after putting children to bed
- 27% have cancelled family time and 19% have missed a child’s event such as a school play
- 21% of employees take fewer than 30 minutes for lunch
- Watch our short animation below, to help employers spot the signs of burnout, in your staff or yourself.
AXA PPP healthcare has helpfully produced a short video to help identify the problem ‘Are you at risk of work burnout?’ The company has also compiled a useful list of easy-to-follow advice which, it hopes, will help to reduce the likelihood of unnecessary stress occurring:
- Prioritise work and try to ensure unnecessary tasks are eliminated
- Ensure your team are adequately trained to do the work expected of them and regularly review their training needs
- Wherever possible, give people control over the work they do and encourage them to take responsibility for how they do the work
- Try to ensure people have some variety in the work they do
- Be aware of any signs of conflict within the team and be ready to intervene to resolve any issues
- Look out for signs of bullying behaviour and be ready to deal with it directly
- Communicate regularly and clearly so that everyone is clear about what is happening at work
- Make sure each individual in the team works to clear, agreed objectives, reviewing these periodically to ensure they remain up to date
- Provide regular, constructive feedback – not just at appraisal time but on a more frequent basis
- Encourage a healthy work-life balance – ensure that your people take their annual leave and discourage your team from regularly taking work home in the evenings or at weekends.
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