Stress levels of finance staff in Singapore to rise in next 3 years: Research

SINGAPORE - An annual research conducted on Januray 2017 surveying 100 Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) in the financial services industry in Singapore, reveals that 78 per cent of them expect stress levels of their finance staff to rise over the next three years.

They cited increased workloads (56 per cent), increased business expectations (54 per cent), shorter deadlines (40 per cent) and a competitive marketplace (38 per cent) as the main cause of this increase.

The research was commisioned by specialised recruitment consultancy,  Robert Half.

Photo: Robert Half

Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said that it's vital for the city-state's bosses to actively address the problem.

"Stress is a drain not only on an employee's wellbeing but also on the organisation.

"Employees who are burned out or chronically frustrated and stressed are more prone to illness and absenteeism, and generally show signs of decreased morale which all negatively impact business productivity - hence company success," he reasoned.

Photo: The Straits Times

In an attempt to effectively manage workplace stress, the overwhelming majority (94 per cent) of Singaporean CFOs are taking measures specifically designed to reduce stress in the workspace.

More than half (55 per cent) are respectively encouraging staff to give regular feedback to management and offering flexible working hours or remote work opportunities.

Just over half (51 per cent) are redesigning the office space to facilitate better productivity and promote a more efficient working environment and more than four in 10 (42 per cent) are hosting regular social team activities.

Below are 8 steps in which CFOs can consider to take to reduce or prevent workplace stress:

1. Motivate and reward employees: Don't hold back on praise for a job well done.

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Feeling appreciated in the workplace can further motivate staff which in turn can reduce workload pressure.

2. Listen to employees: Make sure there are open lines of communication for staff to discuss what is causing them stress.

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Then deliberate on how to reduce workplace stress and implement action plans for improvement so that stressful situations can be managed better.

3. Address issues while they're fresh: Workplace conflicts and stressful situations rarely go away on their own.

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Reach out to co-workers who may be demonstrating signs of stress and tension, and work through the issues together.

4. Be proactive with planning: Map out day-to-day operations and new initiatives to let employees anticipate challenges and organise their workflow more efficiently.

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This can help to avoid potential stressful situations.

5. Assess training and technology needs: Look for changes that could make internal processes more efficient, such as automating manual procedures or upgrading computers.

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Spending less time on manual processes and more time on value-adding projects can make the job more rewarding.

6. Revisit your corporate culture: Employees should feel respected and rewarded for their work.

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Consider if your corporate culture focuses on commitment to success and employee wellbeing, or if it promotes a culture of embedded pressure and stress.

7. Take a break: Consider thanking your team with a few stress-reducing perks.

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Like a professional neck massage at the desk.

8. Demonstrate a commitment to work-life balance: Create work-life balance opportunities by embracing a variety of options such as flexible work hours and remote work opportunities.

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 "By combatting workplace stress, companies can foster an engaging and productive workplace culture, which can positively affect the company's bottom line," Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard concluded.