Stress From Increased Workload Causing Decreased Morale, Endurance
April 17, 2009 — A new survey of business leaders and work-life experts shows that increased workloads and the associated stress causing decreased morale, motivation and endurance.
The WFD Consulting survey found that employee stress and workload have increased substantially in the last 12 months with 80% of respondents saying that managers’ and employees’ workloads have increased along with employee stress; 50% of respondents said that employee motivation, energy and endurance have decreased.
Survey results showed that the demand for immediate action and rapid turnarounds contributes to the escalating work pressure; two-thirds of respondents reported an increase in expectations concerning the speed of execution. Increased pressure is also coming from an expanding global workplace; about half of respondents said the demands of managing globally have increased.
The survey found that 45% of respondents said workloads in their organizations are reasonable and 32% said their organizations have eliminated most low-value, unnecessary work. The biggest factor driving excessive workload, respondents said, was “inadequate staffing to meet work demands;” other factors include “conflicting priorities” and “poor communication and coordination among different functions.”
According to survey results, 44% of respondents said their companies have taken action to address workload issues or eliminate low-value work. According to the survey, the most common actions include work work prioritization to focus on a few critical needs, process improvement and re-engineering projects to shorten cycle times and increase efficiency, and outsourcing of non-priority and low-value work.
The survey was administered online using SurveyMonkey to work-life, diversity and talent leaders; business-unit heads; and academic experts. The 103 respondents came from a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, professional services, technology, higher education and governmental and not-for-profit organizations.