Recent research shows that modern working practices can put as much stress on employees’ family relationships as an additional 120 hours’ work a year.
The ‘Market, Class and Employment’ study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, showed that factors like team-working, performance-related pay and an emphasis on fulfilling individual potential can be detrimental to the well-being of employees.
Top of the list is computerised monitoring of people’s work, which now covers an astonishing 52% of UK workers, mainly of those employed at 20% of largest workplaces. According to the report, this is leading to a sharp increase in work-related stress reflected in feelings of exhaustion and anxiety.
According to Sarah Hall, a Partner in Hay & Kilner’s Employment team:
“For employers, there’s clearly a fine balance to be achieved – between gaining the productivity benefits of a well-monitored, trained and managed workforce and damaging their effectiveness through stress-related burnout.
In addition, employers need to be aware of the potential for legal action by employees who believe they can prove that their employer has contributed to ill-health or hardship through recklessly inducing stress with ill-conceived working practices. It is certainly worthwhile talking to an experienced employment lawyer before imposing new ways of working practices on staff.”
This article is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues. Please contact us to discuss how the contents of the article may affect you.