Stress on the rise for Australian workers
AUSTRALIANS have a reputation - stereotypical, perhaps - for being laidback, laconic and generally pretty easy going.
However, the reality is that we are increasingly stressed, to the point where a growing number of workers are experiencing increases in stress-related illnesses.
Stress-related illness can worsen or cause a whole series of health conditions ranging from obesity to heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems and asthma.
This obviously isn't good for workers, nor is it good for employers. It means lost efficiency and productivity, and growing costs associated with sick leave.
Global workplace provider Regus surveyed more than 20,000 workers in 95 countries, and found 54% of Australian workers surveyed believed they were experiencing increases in stress-related illness.
The survey also found that stress is causing a worrying increase in absenteeism (49%) that is damaging business productivity.
The research also shows that people working in larger firms are more stressed than small businesses - with 61% of workers in companies with more than 250 employees reporting high levels of stress-related illness, compared to 54% of small business workers with fewer than 40 staff.
The CEO of Regus Australia and NZ, Paul Migliorini, said stress was clearly on the rise for Australian workers, and the flow-on effects could have significant and detrimental impacts on our personal lives.
"With stress as a known catalyst for health issues, businesses, especially large companies, need to be proactive and address stress-related issues in the workforce," he said.
"There are a number of approaches that employers who take their care of duty to their workers seriously can take.
"Beyond creating a holistic approach to worker engagement and support, structural changes in the workplace such as flexible working can give employees more freedom and control over their working lives."
Mr Migliorini said Regus's experience in helping roll out flexi-work programs, and extensive research in the area, showed that workers could be happier, healthier and more productive.