Bad habits often associated with business owners, such as overwork and failure to manage stress, are reinforcing poor working habits among employees.
“Although most workers make exceptions to answer after work phone calls and emails for urgent matters from time to time, some fall into the habit of making exception after exception,” said Reventure lead researcher Dr Lindsay McMillan.
“It can have a devastating impact on our health, our relationships and our quality of life.”
Around 85 per cent of the 1,000 workers surveyed by Reventure believe that employers are responsible for creating a workplace environment that proactively deals with the adverse impacts of stress.
And 51 per cent said unrealistic workload expectations have the biggest negative impact on workplace wellbeing.
Dr McMillan noted that other countries such as France have legally mandated “switch-off” time for workers to disconnect from phones and emails.
Yet particularly in a 24/7 trading environment, SME owners are either reluctant or unable to enjoy that same time away from their devices. This in turn reinforces the behaviour of overwork and burnout among employees, who follow their boss’s lead.
“Our research has found 73 per cent of workers feel stressed in the workplace – we should not be encouraging the old notion of work ‘till you drop’, but find ways to allow real time off,” Dr McMillan said.
For businesses, particularly smaller ones, to be able to implement such ‘lead by example’ strategies, automation and outsourcing will need to continue to evolve and become more cost-effective.
Employers have also been criticised recently for creating a culture where taking sick leave is frowned upon, leading to a much more prolific spread of germs and a greater hit to productivity.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.