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78 per cent of CFOs predict stress levels will rise in finance by 2020

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Only a third of finance departments regularly discuss health & wellbeing

Finance workers in the UK are among the most stressed in the world, according to a study by Robert Half UK. Research found that 78 per cent of Chief Financial Officers in the UK see stress levels rising in the next two years, with over a third (31 per cent) saying it would grow significantly. CFOs believe that increased workloads (51 per cent), growing business expectations (49 per cent) and a lack of staff (40 per cent) will send stress levels soaring.

In contrast, just 16 per cent of UK respondents expect to see no change to workplace stress levels over the next couple of years.

Region Stress levels will increase by 2020 (%) Stress levels will not increase by 2020 (%)
UAE 83% 11%
Switzerland 81% 19%
Germany 79% 18%
Chile 78% 17%
Singapore 78% 19%
UK 78% 16%
Brazil 77% 16%
Australia 76% 18%
New Zealand 75% 18%
Hong Kong 75% 25%
Belgium 73% 26%
France 71% 22%
The Netherlands 67% 24%

*Responses do not total 100% as only a selection of responses shown.

“In the run up to financial year-end, organisations need to remember that tired, stressed and unhappy employees make for an unproductive and less efficient workforce. Being on the front foot by hiring temporary support, such as additional credit controllers, purchase ledger clerks, and financial/management accountants can have a positive effect on the stress-levels of your existing employees,” commented Matt Weston, Director at Robert Half UK.

Finance is renowned for being a particularly stressful job. However, the research highlights a widespread failure to implement effective measures to combat stress in the workplace. Only a third (34 per cent) of finance departments regularly discuss health and wellness – while less than one in 10 (7 per cent) never talk about it all. The remaining 59 per cent discuss it occasionally.

While many businesses have policies and programmes for reducing workplace stress, these are by no means universal. According to the research, just over half (53 per cent) allow flexible working. Other steps taken includes redesigning office space to facilitate efficient working (47 per cent), implementing an employee wellness scheme (44 per cent), or providing regular opportunities for employees to give feedback to management (39 per cent).

“Businesses need to go above and beyond to meet high employee expectations around health and wellbeing, and finance is no exception,” concluded Weston. This means rethinking working practices, establishing a dialogue with employees around their needs and planning ahead to bring in interim workers to help finance cope with busy periods and remove some of the pressure.”




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