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Is stress affecting your SME workforce?

POSTED: 4th March 2013
IN: Guides
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to examine the health and wellbeing of their workforces to ensure everyone is in top condition for the efficient running of the business.

A survey of 500 SME decision makers, carried out on behalf of Zurich for its quarterly SME Risk Index, found 42 per cent of respondents felt stress had a noticeable impact on their business last year.

As many as 39 per cent of SME leaders questioned agreed the negative effects of stress, low morale and staff absence had hindered their overall business performance in 2012.

So it seems, small companies can truly suffer if their staff wellbeing is not maintained and looked after in the medium and long-term. 

The Zurich research also discovered 19 per cent of sampled SMEs said workforce absence levels have risen in the past two years, which could impact on their productivity.

Indeed, absences levels at small firms with ten to 49 employees rose 27 per cent in the past two years, as well as 30 per cent for companies with between 50 and 249 workers.

“These figures are strong evidence that addressing workforce challenges and risks is an essential part of achieving better performance and greater growth for British small businesses,” said Richard Coleman, director of SME at Zurich.

A quarter of businesses reported lower morale among their employees due to workplace stress in 2012, the report showed, with 47 per cent of respondents claiming to face more risk now than last year. 

“It is perhaps not surprising that the fragile business climate has had such an impact on workforce stress and morale, and if these issues aren’t addressed they could have serious long-term consequences for business stability and performance,” Mr Coleman added.

SMEs, therefore, may be well advised to assess the morale and stress levels of their workforce to ensure staff are content in their jobs, which is not only good for the individual but for the business as a whole.

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