Half of Scots workers say recession impacts on their quality of life

NEARLY half of Scots say recession stress is making it harder to balance the demands of work and family, according to research released today.

Job insecurity and longer hours caused by the downturn have left almost one in five (18 per cent) feeling more stressed, while a fifth say they are having to work up to 11 hours longer each week than before the recession.

The online research from Clydesdale Bank involving almost 800 professionals and managers also shows that almost one in five employees say the economic situations is making them feel more stressed at work.

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Scott McKerracher, the bank's regional director in Scotland, is calling on employers to do what they can to ensure that changing work patterns do not override family commitments.

Mr McKerracher said: "The recession has certainly had an impact on our working lives. Many businesses have had to work extremely hard to ensure their survival."

He added: "It is important for economic recovery that Scotland's workers are focused on helping their business to survive. However, it is essential that employers ensure they are offering their employees as much support as possible to help them achieve a balance that results in happy and productive employees."

Dr Mary Brown, lecturer in psychology at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, said the pressures of the recession were creating "disengagement" among some employees.

"While people working longer hours may seem like an indication of this country's Protestant work ethic, closer examination by employers will find many employees are in fact becoming disengaged from the workplace.

"This means they are doing their duty and even struggling into work in horrendous weather, but are not engaged with what they are doing because they feel constrained and powerless by the lack of opportunities and the harsher working climate.

"Employers are probably deluding themselves if they think this has created an entirely sellers' market, as those workers who can are looking at creating a portfolio career, taking on a number of different jobs both as an employee and as a contractor.

"It is workers without the financial means from sources such as redundancy packages to leave their jobs for this new style of working who are suffering the most."

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David Lonsdale, assistant director of the Confederation of British Industry in Scotland, said: "This has been a particularly bruising recession and it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that those in employment have sought to put in more effort in order to retain their jobs.

"However, one of the most positive and striking aspects of the past 18 months has been the commitment of many businesses and their staff to work together to try to trim costs and save jobs.

"Britain's flexible labour market has proved a huge asset during these testing times, and the vastly increased use of flexible working practices has enabled employers and staff to create leeway on working hours."

Meanwhile separate research released today reveals nearly half (46 per cent) of working parents and grandparents said they were not putting their families first due to time pressures. Researchers from Scottish Widows found almost a third (32 per cent) of working parents said they wanted more time with family and friends.


Top five things parents wish they had more time for:

Time with family/friends 32%

Just time to myself 13%

Saving for the future 11%

Exercise/healthy life 10%

Time to have fun 9%

Top five things parents worry about neglecting in their life:

Health 36%

Children 34%

Relationships 33%

Financial Security 25%

Money 24%

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