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‘Lean and mean’ businesses decrease motivation and increase stress

Employee recognition programs help companies promote and maintain staff member engagement and well-being.

Employee recognition programs help companies promote and maintain staff member engagement and well-being. However, not all firms are utilizing these initiatives, much to their detriment.

Recent research from Linda Duxbury of Carleton University and Christopher Higgens of the University of Western Ontario found that work environments that focus overly on being "lean and mean" are resulting in tired and stress employees.

In fact, 57 percent of survey participants reported high levels of stress, while 54 percent said they take work home to complete outside of regular business hours. Furthermore, 28 percent said they would take a substantial pay cut to work less if they had a choice.

"Stress levels have gone up and life satisfaction has gone down," said Duxbury. "Email use has gone up, as have work demands. There are more employees balancing work, eldercare and childcare. But despite the talk, many companies have not made progress in the area of work-life balance and employee well-being."

To right the problem, more companies are employing incentives such as flexible working arrangements, including varying working hours and the possibility of remote employment, as well as focusing more on staff member health.

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