Stress has caused 37% of staff to quit Scottish SMEs, study suggests

(David Cheskin/PA)

More than a third of employees at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland have quit their job due to stress in their workplace, according to new research.

It suggested 37% changed their jobs because of frustrations not addressed by management while a quarter (25%) admitted to calling in sick because of work-related stress.

The report – Causes and Implications of Workplace Stress in SMEs – from software firm Process Bliss also indicated more than half (55%) of those who responded admitted they were not clear about some company processes.

Lack of clarity and guidance was also among the causes of stress (37%) as well as having to chase colleagues for updates (32%) and being micromanaged by bosses (15%).

Main sources of SME workplace stress in Scotland

Source: Process Bliss research

  • Lack of information or clarity when asked to do something (37%)

  • Chasing colleagues for updates (32%)

  • Having no control over a situation (25%)

  • Lack of guidance/direction from the boss (20%)

  • No effective collaboration with colleagues (16%)

Process Bliss chief executive Alister Esam said: “Many of these issues come from people not being given sufficient training or a functioning process to follow that enables them to do their job well.

“At the same time, managers are checking up on, and micromanaging staff because they have no way of seeing whether employees are following that process correctly.

“This harassment is stressful, contributing to a culture of mistrust and causing people working at SMEs to leave in significant numbers.

“Many companies document their processes, but it is clear that many employees aren’t aware of that fact or find them inaccessible.

“As a result, they effectively operate without them which leads to errors, micromanagement and mutual distrust between staff and bosses.”

More than a third (35%) said working for a small business was more stressful than a larger company while more than a quarter (27%) did not feel trusted in the workplace.

Mr Esam added: “Doing more to reduce stress in the workplace is hugely important and should be a key priority for Scottish SME bosses during 2019 – staff retention is vital.

“Employees do their best work when they are motivated, engaged, trusted and work in a reduced-stress environment and leave a job when they are unhappy and demotivated.

“Workplace stress can come from many different sources and while no boss can eliminate stress completely, there are lots of measures that can be put in place to ensure day-to-day frustrations are reduced.”