A survey by Grant Thornton has ranked Botswana seventh out of 38 countries with high stress in the workplace.
The survey ranks increases and decreases in workplace stress year-on-year.
Greece topped the survey with a 67 percent overall stress increase, followed by China with an increase of 60 percent. Botswana is the top African country, following countries such as main land China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru and Mexico. At position 16, South Africa is the second African country after Botswana.
Research shows that reaching performance targets was cited as a major cause of stress in the workplace for both South Africa and Botswana, a statement from Grant Thornton Botswana says.
The managing partner of Grant Thornton Botswana, Jay Ramesh says the increase in stress levels for businesses in Botswana could be led by a reduction in government spending, thereby causing a fear of lower economic activity. “This is likely to be compounded by the government’s statement to make a bold effort to balance the budget by reducing spending rather than by an increase in revenues.”
Ramesh says that increases in stress levels for business leaders could also be caused by uncertainties in obtaining new or renewing work and residence permits. Internationally, levels of stress felt by business leaders have shown their lowest increase since 2005, he points out.
This has led analysts to raise the question, with economies depressed and the outlook for many still uncertain, of whether many business leaders are managing their goals to alleviate stress, or whether they have learnt to better manage the challenges they are facing, the statement from Grant Thornton points out.
Ed Nusbaum, CEO of Grant Thornton International, says: “As the economic crisis has continued, the majority of business leaders have learnt to better manage the challenges they are facing, including dealing with stress by adjusting to more realistic performance measures and goals. This is just as true in the booming BRIC economies as in troubled Europe.
“What we are seeing from our clients across the globe is more effective management of this
Nusbaum adds that the results of the survey conducted provide clear evidence that taking a holiday can reduce the impact of stress on business leaders. “Business growth prospects benefit from having strong, focused direction so we strongly advocate taking the time to step away, reflect and recharge in order to bring a new perspective to decision making.”
The insight that holidays reduce stress is not surprising; in Botswana – one of the most ‘stressed’ of the countries that participated in the survey – fewer business leaders took holidays in 2011 than in 2010, reiterating the belief that time away reduces stress.
A further point of interest is that in South Africa, more respondents sought relief through exercise and sport than in Botswana. However, South Africans were also more prone to using home entertainment as a stress buster - with 81 percent choosing this as their preferred method of unwinding.
In Botswana, although overall fewer leaders exercised than in South Africa, physical activity still ranked over home entertainment as a way to relieve stress. That is, in Botswana, 53 percent of business leaders prefer to exercise, while 44 percent prefer home entertainment as a way to relax after a long day.
The research is carried out primarily by telephone interviews, except in cases such as Japan, where data collection was through postal interviews and main land China and Taiwan where face-to-face interviews were conducted.
Questionnaires are translated into local languages with each participating country having the option to ask a small number of country specific questions in addition to the core questionnaire. From 2011, fieldwork takes place on a quarterly basis every quarter with fieldwork lasting approximately one month and a half.