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Nov 19 2012
UK workers facing ‘burn-out’ as long hours take their toll

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Towers Watson urges UK businesses to avoid ‘work till you drop’ culture

British workers are heading for a “burn-out” as excessive pressures and long hours take their toll, a leading employee benefits consultancy is warning.
A report by Towers Watson, the Global Workforce Study, reveals that a third of UK employees say they are often affected by excessive pressure in their job.
The report, which surveyed some 32,000 employees worldwide, also found that 58% of UK workers say they have been working more hours than normal over the last three years. Half of these expect this to continue for another three years.
Just 53% of employees feel their stress levels at work are manageable, while only a third believe their senior management support health and wellbeing policies.
A quarter of those surveyed said they had not used as much holiday or personal time off over the last three years, while a third say their organisation is under-resourced and 22% feel the amount of work they are asked to do is unreasonable.
Results for the UK were broadly in line with those seen across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with similar numbers of workers feeling that there was excessive pressure, longer working hours and fewer resources available in the workplace.
Charles Fair, senior engagement and wellbeing consultant at Towers Watson, said the research raises “huge concerns” over the health and wellbeing of the UK’s workers.
He said: “Several years of economic uncertainty have led to increased anxiety around job security with workers putting in longer hours than ever, raising concerns of ‘burn-out’ amongst British workers.
“Businesses should act now to avoid a ‘work until you drop’ culture turning into the norm with workers becoming increasingly unproductive, something our economy can ill-afford at the moment.”
Towers Watson has also identified a clear link between the levels of wellbeing and engagement of a company’s workforce and its organisational performance.
Its Global Employee Research Database – which measures engagement levels in thousands of companies globally – shows that organisations with low engagement produced an average operating margin of around 10% while organisations with high sustainable engagement performed nearly three times better with operating margins of over 27%.
Fair added: “If employees are overworked and stressed then their levels of engagement, morale and wellbeing are correspondingly low and this can have a real impact on the bottom line for many organisations.
“Understanding employees’ needs and putting in place a thorough health and wellbeing strategy can pay dividends for organisations of all sizes.”
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