Heavy workloads and lack of development is taking a toll on employee happiness

stressed at workAccording to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) UK Working Lives survey, many of us feel overworked and are lacking opportunities to progress in our careers.

More specifically, it was found that overall happiness is being dragged down by a lack of training and development among lower-skilled workers and middle managers are experiencing high levels of stress.

One in four (43%) low-skilled or casual workers believe that their job doesn’t offer good opportunities to develop their skills and more than a third (37%) say they haven’t received any training in the last 12 months.

Meanwhile, a third (35%) of middle managers say they have too much work to do, with 28% claiming their work has had a negative impact on their mental health.

Across all levels of seniority, it was found that 62% of employees want to reduce their hours. Speaking about this issue, chief executive of the CIPD, Peter Cheese commented:

“We need to ensure that we’re designing our jobs flexibly and in ways that best utilise the skills of the workforce, implementing positive health and wellbeing strategies and tackling workplace cultures of stress and giving voice and support to our people.”

He continued:

“Alongside that, we need to give those looking to develop their skills the ability to do so, through workplace learning and wider investment in skills development to make sure we’re making the most of all the talent that people have.”

What can employers do about unhappy employees?

Among its recommendations to improve workforce happiness, the CIPD has suggested that employers should offer clear routes for progression, increase the provision of flexible working arrangements, conduct audits to identify the causes of stress and advertise support services to all staff.

For further advice, you can have a read of our blogs:

How to make your company a happy place to work

What’s really affecting employee productivity?

How to retain top employees

What to do if you’re struggling with your workload

Most of us want to have a long and successful career which is why a lot of us find ourselves trying to juggle unrealistic work demands. Desperate not to be seen as being unable to cope, it’s easy to take on extra hours, work from home after hours and worry about how we’re going to get everything done.

Below is some advice which can help you to gain back control and start enjoying your job again.

Talk to someone

Keeping quiet about an impossibly heavy workload is unfortunately only going to exacerbate the situation. If you broach the subject early, the situation is much easier to deal with and adjustments can be made promptly.

Chances are that your boss simply doesn’t know that you’re feeling overwhelmed and if you keep quiet, they’ll continue piling on the work thinking you’re coping.

Ask for a meeting where you can explain to the people involved why their expectations are unrealistic and set some new ones together. Again, make sure you do this at the beginning rather than waiting for deadlines to be missed before explaining this as people will be a lot more understanding if you’re upfront.

Be organised

If you have a heavy workload, prioritising your tasks and organising yourself is vital. You will feel a lot calmer and will get more done if you know exactly what needs to be done and by when.

More information can be found about this on our blogs:

How to stop procrastinating and be more productive at work

Eight ways to boost workplace productivity

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