Nearly half of UK bosses admit they’ve felt forced to compromise their own health and wellbeing as a result of pressure at work, new research from Vistage has found.
While a quarter of business leaders say they’ve sought outside help to strike a better balance between their work and personal life, many more are choosing to suffer on in silence while their health and relationships suffer.
According to the study, 40% of business leaders say the demands of work have caused stress in their personal lives, while nearly a third say they frequently have to work through illness rather than taking the time they need to recover. Meanwhile just 12% of bosses say they will always prioritise their health and well-being over their work.
Speaking on the findings, Geoff Lawrence, general manager at Vistage, said: “Being a boss can mean having to put your body on the line from time-to-time, but there’s a fine line between making sacrifices and becoming a martyr to the cause.
“Finding the right balance can be difficult for business leaders, particularly those who might have built their business from the ground up. They want to do everything, be everywhere, and be involved in every decision, but almost inevitably that type of approach ends in a crash. There’s no shame in sharing the load, so focus your energies on building a team you trust and give yourself the space to function at the highest levels when you need to.”
Despite the pressure many bosses feel to put work first, Vistage found modern bosses are highly attuned to the importance of diet and exercise.
Nearly half (49%) of respondents said they follow a balanced diet to stay trim, with 38% saying that healthier eating habits have helped to perform better at work. But more than one in five (22%) admit their work schedule means it can be difficult to maintain a balanced diet, while 14% say stress at work has led to them gaining weight.
And while 59% say they do some form of exercise at least three times a week, 16% say they rarely do any exercise at all.
Vistage Chair Andrew Marsh added: “Speaking from experience, executives remain in stressful, high-intensive situations because they tell themselves they have to be strong and show no vulnerability, often to the detriment of personal relationships and wellbeing.
“With nowhere to turn, I too felt alone and unable to cope with the growing demand on my time from my staff, the board, suppliers and a business in transition. Years later I wish had sought out advice and support earlier and taken control of my situation much sooner. It is important for business leaders to understand that there is support out there and they do not need to suffer in silence.”