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Job Worries Boost Presenteeism

British workers are spending more time at work in attempts to safeguard their jobs during the recession than they used to but surprisingly this is not adversely affecting their relationships at home, according to new research.

The findings published by Lancaster University's Centre for Organizational Health and Wellbeing, shows that 66% of employees are succumbing to 'presenteeism' at work as job insecurity bites as a result of the economic downturn.

The survey also found that whilst 61% of employees are worrying about the future and over half are finding the current economic situation stressful, the majority of those surveyed said that their home relationships had not been badly affected.

Survey Commentary

The Director of the Centre Professor Susan Cartwright commented:

The gender differences in this survey are also worth mentioning, in that 71% of women reported that they are now spending more time at work compared with 61% of men. This suggests that women may feel more vulnerable about job loss than men. Furthermore, a higher percentage of women than men are finding the current economic situation stressful.

Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University said that some of the results of the survey were encouraging.

It's probably not surprising that workers are stressed and worried, but I think these results show that people are realising that family life is important and are investing in it to make relationships work when other parts of life seem uncertain.

Presenteesim may make the employee feel more secure because he or she is 'putting the hours in', but there is no evidence that consistent long hours result in increased productivity.

Survey Results

The Lancaster / UGov survey asked employees from all regions of the UK and all age groups how they are dealing with the recession in terms of health and wellbeing.

Key results of the survey conducted 17-20th April with a sample of 2247 workers showed that:

  • 66% say that over the past few months they are spending more time at work than they used to. Only 15% of those surveyed are not.
  • The majority - 61% - of respondents said that they worry more about the future. 22% disagree
  • Over half (54% of workers) are finding the current economic situation stressful. 22% say they are not finding it stressful
  • 54% of people said that their relationships were unaffected by the economic downturn, with 21% saying that relationships had been adversely affected.
  • 42% of people surveyed said that in the past 3 months that they feel more insecure about their jobs. 37% disagree
  • 45 % of employees said that they thought it best to 'play it safe at work and keep my head down'. 24 % disagreed.
  • 41% of people reported a negative atmosphere at work. 24% said that there was a positive atmosphere at work

Source: Lancaster University June 01 2009

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