The survey of 500 Small and medium sized business, by accountants Grant Thornton, highlights the economic crisis as the greatest cause of workplace stress for private business owners, as noted by 34% of respondents. This is followed by a heavy workload (26%) and pressure on cash flow (also 26%).
Owners of businesses in Northern Ireland are the most stressed of all UK with 54% saying their stress levels have increase over the year, the highest response of all the regions. Those in the East (48%) saw the second highest rise in stress over the year followed by 45% in London & South. Owners in Scotland saw the least increase in stress levels of all UK private companies with only 26% of respondents saying their stress levels have increased compared to a year ago.
The main cause of workplace stress among heads of businesses in Northern Ireland is pressure on cash flow, as pointed out by 34% of respondents, followed by conflicts with work/life balance (22%). The major cause of workplace stress for those in the East and London & South is the economic climate, 37% and 40% respectively.
The survey found a correlation between stress levels and the number of holidays taken by an individual in a year. Regions at the top of the stress league are those whose business owners take fewer holidays each year. Unsurprisingly in Northern Ireland business owners take one of the lowest number of days (18.7), while those in Scotland take one of the highest (19.4 days).
David Campbell, Partner and Head of Privately Held Businesses, says: “Business owners across the UK are experiencing an increased amount of stress for very different reasons. Causes of stress reported by PHB owners range from concern about maintaining cash flow, whereas in London & South, business leaders are mostly perturbed by the impact of the economic climate on their business.
“Company bosses are providing evidence that those able to take more holidays are less stressed than their counterparts in regions where holidays are less frequent. Taking the time to step away from the business to reflect and recharge can help owners bring a new perspective when making decisions.”