SME employees at increased risk of burnout

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Britain’s small and medium sized firms make up 99.9% of the UK’s private sector businesses, employ nearly three-fifths of its workforce and account for 48% of the turnover, but it’s employees are more susceptible to burnout.

But full-on pursuit of commercial success may be putting owners and employees of these businesses at increased risk of ill health and burnout. Described as a type of stress, office burnout can manifest itself as a state of physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.

Unfortunately, long working hours are often embedded into SME culture. According to research by AXA PPP healthcare:

  • 47% of employees in SMEs across the UK said they regularly work four or more hours of overtime per week
  • 27% if these put in seven or more hours
  • For half (52%), the extra hours are unpaid.

In addition:

  • 22% of employees take fewer than 30 minutes for lunch
  • 19% have cancelled family time and 19% have missed a child’s event such as a school play and for parents with younger children due to working over and above their contracted hours
  • More than half (54%) of employees have continued to work after putting children to bed.

“Small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of the economy – driving innovation, enterprise and growth,” comments Dr Gary Bolger, Chief Medical Officer at AXA PPP healthcare. “Their commitment is commendable, yet our study shows that owners and bosses may be putting themselves and their employees at increased risk of burnout and ill health through protracted overwork.”

As a result of the research, the small business experts at AXA PPP healthcare have released this short animation in order to help employers spot the signs of burnout in their staff or themselves.

For more tips and advice on burnout, visit the small business health centre from AXA PPP healthcare.

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson