Almost one in three stressed workers think a 4-day working week would relieve stress

Forty-three per cent of employees in UK small businesses have changed their jobs because of work-related frustrations and stresses that were not addressed by management, according to new research.

One-third of respondents also admitted to calling in sick because of work-related stress, according to a new report*.The main sources of SME workplace stress were having to chase colleagues for updates (33 per cent) and a lack of information or clarity when asked to do something (31per cent). Other sources of workplace stress cited were a lack of control over a situation (28 per cent), a lack of guidance/direction from the boss (2 6per cent) and a lack of response to emails (25 per cent).

Alister Esam, CEO at Process Bliss, 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 micro-managing 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. The biggest problems, a lack of clarity from management when asking for something to be done or a lack of guidance from the boss, simply should not be factors in workplace stress. They are easily avoidable by providing the right training or having functioning processes to work with.

With almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents admitting they were not clear about all of their company’s processes, training and process management are clearly key issues for business managers to solve. The most common process failures were employee/new starter onboarding, procurement and credit-checking, while HR disciplinary processes and customer onboarding were also cited. Such process failure was having a significant impact on the business too – 43 per cent say their company has lost customers because of failed processes.

Alister Esam continued,

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. A process must be supportive and usable to employees rather than a document that nobody reads. This ensures employees have all they need to do their jobs, nurtures greater levels of trust for managers and reduces workplace stress.

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents say that working for a small business was more stressful than working for a bigger firm, while 32 per cent say they do not feel trusted in the workplace, suggesting there is much work still to do in addressing SME workplace stress.

Alister Esam concluded,

Doing more to reduce stress in the workplace is hugely important and should be a key priority for 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.

*Causes and implications of workplace stress in SMEs by Process Bliss.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

Aphrodite has had a variety of high profile industry clients as a freelancer, and previously worked for a number of years as an Editor and Journalist for

Aphrodite is also a professional painter.