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State of wellbeing and productivity in the financial sector

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23rd Jan 2014
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New research produced by the Bank Workers Charity in partnership with Robertson Cooper has identified that the financial sector need to recognise and prioritise the impact that non-work pressures are having on employees and in turn on the organisations themselves.

The findings show that financial worries, caring responsibilities and concerns about the future are all significant home-life factors that affect performance at work. The research also identifies workplace causes of both ill-health and reduced productivity. Drivers of ill-health include lack of enjoyment of the job and the intrusion of work into the home or personal life.

Concerns affecting productivity include not receiving support from colleagues/boss and job insecurity. A range of non-work pressures surfaced in the research including poor quality of sleep, which was experienced by 60% of respondents. 47% had troubling thoughts on the future and 40% were concerned about their financial circumstances. Worries about weight (39%) and the rising price of everyday goods (36%) also feature significantly.

The research also found that 3% of workers are part of a ‘sandwich generation’, caring for an elderly relative whilst also having childcare responsibilities. Managing these responsibilities alongside a demanding job can prove unsustainable, posing substantial health risks to the employee.

Four bank worker types

Four different categories of bank workers emerge from the research, which investigates the employee’s work-life balance and engagement levels. Each type of worker is exposed to different kinds of pressure. This means that in trying to improve employee wellbeing, one approach won’t work for everyone and this is likely to be the case no matter what sector you work in. Indeed, the research shows that in order to achieve sustainable employee wellbeing a holistic approach is needed that balances long-term preventative interventions alongside the reactive services typically available through EAPs.

Professor Cary Cooper of Robertson Cooper said: “Day-to-day relationships hold the key, particularly the line manager relationship at work. However, we can’t just pour more pressure on line managers without supporting them. This research demonstrates the need to consider the whole person rather than treat work and non-work problems as if they affect people differently.

“The challenge is to get people to relate to people, not managers to resources. Preparing managers properly to have the right conversations with their teams about the pressures they face should be a core part of management development.”

This research shows that organisations need to take a whole person approach to health and wellbeing, addressing both the work and non-work issues in order to achieve sustainable employee performance and positive wellbeing.

To learn more about wellbeing in the financial sector and to find out more about Bank Workers Charity’s work in this area, please download the full report.

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