Workplace stress is a thing. A Bloomberg survey in 2016 reported that, based on its anecdotal and empirical research, that Nigeria was the most stressful country to live and work in and South Africa was second on this survey.
Some of the reasons for these high levels are stress are the following, amongst others:
Perhaps the most damning evidence for workplace stress is illustrated by reports of Nigeria and South Africa’s recent exit from recession. The two economic giants of Africa suffered a significant decline because of instability spanning different industries. In the midst of crisis, companies tend to focus on profitability which heightens an emphasis on employees to perform better and to put in extra working hours. Managers are simply not able to manage this kind of workplace stres effectively.
2. Work-life imbalance
More employees are struggling with work-life balance with almost 95% reporting that they regularly work in excess of a 50-hour work week and do not take their full quota of entitled annual leave.
3. Dysfunctional Workplace Dynamics
Managers who are unforgiving in the pressure they exert as well as toxic colleagues bring a massive pressure to bear on employees in the listed two countries and create massive negativity and stress.
There are other contributors to the major workplace stress which prevails across Nigeria and South Africa but these are the main and dominant reasons that were listed in the Bloomberg research.
What are the lessons that employers in Africa can learn from this research?
- Employers must have a defined employee value proposition in their organisations
- Employers should place employee engagement at the top of their strategic agendas
- Managers should be able to recognise the tell-tale signs of toxic workplaces and employees and to act with immediacy to eradicate this toxicity;
- Employers should have well established employee wellness programs that can deal with the occupational as well as personal stress that employees are facing in current times
- HR tools, systems and procedures, such as job profiling and performance management and measurement tools and systems should be clear and transparent as well as aimed at removing ambiguity amongst employees