Research from Robertson Cooper and the Bank Workers Charity (BWC) has revealed the combination of work and non-work pressures are affecting half a million bank workers in the UK. The findings show that financial worries, caring responsibilities and concerns about the future are all significant home/life factors affecting performance at work. Supporting employees to deal with these pressures could save the sector upwards of £17 million.
The research “Bank on Your People” identified three key workplace drivers of ill-health, both psychological and physical, within the financial sector. These three issues are: a lack of enjoyment of the job, concern that work is interfering with home or personal life and worries that their job is likely to change in the future.
Non-work pressures include poor quality of sleep, which 60 per cent of respondents experienced frequently. 47 per cent had troubling thoughts on the future and 40 per cent were concerned about financial security. Worries about weight (39 per cent) and the rising price of common goods (36 per cent) also feature significantly. The research also identifies that 3% of workers are part of a ‘sandwich generation’, caring for an elderly relative whilst also having childcare responsibilities, which is unsustainable without substantial health risks.
Robertson Cooper and the Bank Workers Charity are calling for banks to recognise the impact that non-work pressures are having on employees and, consequently, organisations. Issues, such as sleep deprivation, can drastically affect concentration and decision-making. Financial pressures also have a huge impact on employees’ wellbeing and are relatively common.
Cary Cooper, founder of Robertson Cooper and distinguished professor of Organisational Psychology and Health, Lancaster University commented: “The combination of work and non-worker pressures is severely challenging many employees in the banking sector. Some banks are starting to address work stresses, but often it’s the additional personal demands that are compounding the problem and significantly affecting work performance. Banks need to take a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, addressing issues not just rooted in the workplace.”
The research demonstrates that employers need to understand these issues better in order to support their workforce more effectively. Organisations that tackle issues around health and wellbeing will ultimately deflect the cost that prolonged absences and reduced performances incur. Robertson Cooper is advising banks to work more closely with bodies that provide assistance for those experiencing financial hardships, such as the Bank Workers Charity.