Revealed: What’s making us stressed

Monday , 3 October 2016 by Alistair Gray

A new survey has found that almost 60% of Kiwis are stressed at least once a week - with financial and work related issues stressing out younger Kiwis, while their older counterparts are more likely to be stressed out about health.

This is one of the findings of a recent Southern Cross Health Society survey looking at the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

The survey of 2000 randomly selected New Zealanders showed:

  • For those over 50, the main causes of stress were their own health issues and those of their family.
  • The main cause of stress for young families was having enough money to live on.
  • Young Kiwis without children were more concerned about job security, workload and having enough money to live on.
  • Females were more likely to be stressed over more than half of the working week.

These findings are consistent with the 2015 Wellness in the Workplace survey that showed 28.6% of businesses reporting employee stress levels on the rise.

Southern Cross Health Society CEO Peter Tynan says that stress in the workplace is a critical issue and businesses need to foster a culture that addresses the causes and helps staff deal with tough situations.

“If your workforce is becoming increasingly stressed, businesses need to put wellness practices in place to mitigate this. Not only does stress bring down productivity and engagement at work, it also tends to lead to health issues in the long run.”

Practices can include things like flexible hours, technology that allows staff to work from home, health checks, immunisations, as well as bringing in experts to coach staff on topics like financial literacy and resiliency.

The advantages for business are significant as well says Tynan. Such programmes often result in higher levels of staff satisfaction, increased loyalty and importantly reduced stress.

“Businesses with older staff may need to have practices in place like flexible working as older staff are more likely to be dealing with health issues – either their own, their families, or they are looking after elderly parents. Whereas younger employees often need support with resiliency and financial literacy.”

“But there’s no one-size-fits-all programme for how you can best support your staff . It’s important to talk to your workforce about what their issues are and put a plan in place that’s relevant to them.”


Note: The Southern Cross survey was conducted by TNS online amongst 2000 randomly selected New Zealanders and was carried out in June 2016.

Wellness in the Workplace is a joint study undertaken by the country’s largest health insurer Southern Cross Health Society and New Zealand’s largest advocacy group for enterprise BusinessNZ. The nationwide study of 113 employers (encompassing 116,000 employees) was carried out between March – June 2015 with the aim of benchmarking workplace trends.