56% of business leaders describe themselves as ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ stressed when it comes to their business or organisation, according to a Pulse Check from engagement consultancy Question & Retain.
The survey of 1,094 C-suite executives, 50% of which were from SMEs, between 14-27 July asked: ‘How stressed do you feel about your business/organisation at present’.
The findings are unsurprising, considering the difficulties facing all industries in the wake of COVID-19 and the build up to the UK’s exit from the European Union – summarised by one respondent as ‘the greatest time of uncertainty in 21 years of business’. Answering how stressed they were:
• 8% responded extremely
• 48% very
• 12% fairly
• 24% a little
• 8% not at all
For what the respondents are most worried about, the majority cited the possibility of a recession. Encouragingly for the wider market, none of those taking part in the poll were worried about their own position:
• 61% were most worried about a recession
• 9% Brexit/trading problems
• 22% Second wave/local lockdowns
• 4% Debts/bankruptcy
• 0% Your own job
• 4% Other
‘It’s the lack of any visibility that worries me the most,’ said another respondent to the survey. ‘The fluctuating pressures on our clients’ own businesses mean it’s hard to plan too far ahead. This needs a more agile approach and not being afraid to change course mid-stream. So far, our client base has been stable(ish), but who knows what September will look like.’
‘Clearly business leaders have had to dig deep adapting to a myriad of circumstances that none of us could have imagined just six months ago,’ said Question & Retain CEO and founder Annabel Dunstan of the results.
‘As we emerge from the first lockdown, C-Suite must now shift focus from reactive actions to planning for scenarios and keeping an eye on the longer term strategy. With stress levels running so high, a focus on mental health and wellbeing will be key to ensure leaders do not burn out. With nearly two thirds of leaders most worried about a recession, energies need to be directed at really understanding the market and what customers need and want. No mean feat, but more than ever, listening and gauging sentiment is critical.’
Find out more about Question & Retain on the website.